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bartleby
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Question for those of you who memorize shuffled decks as part of your performance: Do you "stop practicing" before a performance to clear your head?

I ask because, as I practice memorizing a shuffled deck, the closer together those practice runs, the more risk there is of an old memory slipping into the latest deck. I have never been able to "clear away" and start fresh without some time in between. I assume this is normal. So I am finding that every time I sit down and shuffle a deck and memorize it, I do better the first time I try. If I try again immediately after I start to have issues.

So I am asking... is this your experience? Do you then "cool down" a day or two before a performance so as to have a clear head?
Sebastian Oudot
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I do not perform professionally but I can relate to that.

For a certain period of time, I trained everyday trying to remember a shuffled deck, 2 or 3 times a day. And sometimes 2 or 3 times in a row.


- Same as you, when I practice 2/3 times in a row, my main problem is that during the 2nd (and even worst for the third) deck, I have different mental images that come out of my head at the same moment during the restitution phase.

I also can make a mistake by remembering a mental image that was created the day before.


- However, sometimes, I have two different mental images, but my brain is able to determine quickly which one is the good one.


- By trying to explain things from a different angle, I think that by doing this particular training over and over again, it becomes more and more difficult for the brain to create new mental images with enough variety.

Probably because of the brain's lack of "creativity" training and/or because of the size of the memory palace (too small and too limited for the creation of a lot of new different mental images).


- I have far more better results by doing one deck in the morning, and the second one in the afternoon, instead of doing 2 decks in a row.


I think that if your brain is very well trained, you can perform/train once everyday without messing up with the different mental images.

And if you stop training at least one day before a performance, it can only be a good thing.
bartleby
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Thank-you Sebastian. I think, more important than performance experience, I was looking to see if people who practiced this were finding what I am finding. You have shown me you are.

What is interesting is your comment about more training making it harder. There is certainly truth in that! On one hand, you want to practice a lot so your memory pegs or palace locations come to you quickly, but the more you try to populate them creatively the harder it is to do next time. So each time you practice one half of the art gets better and the other gets harder!

At least that is my experience.

I have yet to get 52/52 on a shuffled deck (and I would never perform a full 52 anyway), but I have been close. I think, rather than squeezing a bunch of practice into an hour or two, I should simply do this once or twice a day with the odd day break.

Thank-you again for your comments.
Nestor D
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I have never experienced the feeling (but I never did serious memory work less than two hours apart) but I know that expert mnemotechnician take the time to destroy the pictures in their head after their training (by setting them on fire or breaking them in a way or another) Smile
Conner
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If you're going to memorize decks regularly you will need enough loci so that you don't have to reuse any individual locus within about two or three days. If you use 26 loci for a single deck, you will want about eight to ten different sets of 26 loci so you can practice a few times a day without reusing your loci too often.

More importantly for performances, however, is that memorizing a full deck in front of an audience is unlikely to yield much entertainment value. That's because the time it takes to memorize is likely to be dead air for the audience. For example, if I am comfortable memorizing a deck under three minutes, I don't want my audience to be sitting in silence for 2:30 to 2:50 while I stare at playing cards. It's an impressive skill, but I need to consider the pacing of the act. Even world champion-level mnemonists memorizing in 40 to 90 seconds could lead to dead air. It's like Ken Weber says, you need to control every moment.

Nelson Dellis is a good example of this. He can memorize a deck in 20 to 40 seconds, but when he gives this talk on memory he has already pre-memorized the deck to avoid down time (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pXYqnEwFohI). Similarly, Harry Lorayne learns names before the show begins so that the pacing of the program can remain strong.

If you're interested in showcasing a card memory stunt that actually leverages real memory skill, Bob Cassidy's card memory routine is a good one. There's still a bit of trickery involved, but it does actually require real mnemonics to pull off. Just as importantly, the pacing is very effective to avoid down time. It even allows for what Chuck Hickok calls "multiple moments of amazement", or at the very least multiple applause cues.
bartleby
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Quote:
On Nov 29, 2016, Conner wrote:
If you're going to memorize decks regularly you will need enough loci so that you don't have to reuse any individual locus within about two or three days. If you use 26 loci for a single deck, you will want about eight to ten different sets of 26 loci so you can practice a few times a day without reusing your loci too often.

More importantly for performances, however, is that memorizing a full deck in front of an audience is unlikely to yield much entertainment value. That's because the time it takes to memorize is likely to be dead air for the audience. For example, if I am comfortable memorizing a deck under three minutes, I don't want my audience to be sitting in silence for 2:30 to 2:50 while I stare at playing cards. It's an impressive skill, but I need to consider the pacing of the act. Even world champion-level mnemonists memorizing in 40 to 90 seconds could lead to dead air. It's like Ken Weber says, you need to control every moment.

Nelson Dellis is a good example of this. He can memorize a deck in 20 to 40 seconds, but when he gives this talk on memory he has already pre-memorized the deck to avoid down time (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pXYqnEwFohI). Similarly, Harry Lorayne learns names before the show begins so that the pacing of the program can remain strong.

If you're interested in showcasing a card memory stunt that actually leverages real memory skill, Bob Cassidy's card memory routine is a good one. There's still a bit of trickery involved, but it does actually require real mnemonics to pull off. Just as importantly, the pacing is very effective to avoid down time. It even allows for what Chuck Hickok calls "multiple moments of amazement", or at the very least multiple applause cues.


Thank-you Conner. I think the answer might be some more loci. I think putting some work into using more than one schema is a way to keep practicing (and be sharp) and to perform the effect.

With respect to your other advice, I am not performing traditional mentalism nor do I present myself as a mentalist, so I have the opportunity to do things a little differently. In my case the memorizing of a deck would fit into the story I am telling and be more interactive than a traditional stage show. But your larger point remains, keep them entertained.
bartleby
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On Nov 29, 2016, Nestor D wrote:
I have never experienced the feeling (but I never did serious memory work less than two hours apart) but I know that expert mnemotechnician take the time to destroy the pictures in their head after their training (by setting them on fire or breaking them in a way or another) Smile


Alas, this has never worked for me. I am glad you have never run into the issue.
Conner
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Having lots of loci really is worth every bit of effort that goes into identifying them. The nook and cranny method (http://www.ludism.org/mentat/NookAndCrannyMethod) is a great and easy way to get lots of loci very easily.

Your performance sounds very interesting. An interactive story for the audience whilst simultaneously memorizing a shuffled deck. If you're willing to share, I'd very much like to hear more about what that experience would be like from the audience's perspective; either here or by PM. I'm always interested to see the various ways memory stunts are framed for audiences.
bartleby
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Oh that link is wonderful. Thank-you, Conner. I have been hungry for some general discussion on memory systems and such and that info is great.

I am tied up tonight but will send you an overview of my performance style and how this might apply later in the week.
Sebastian Oudot
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Quote:
On Nov 29, 2016, bartleby wrote:
Thank-you Sebastian. I think, more important than performance experience, I was looking to see if people who practiced this were finding what I am finding. You have shown me you are.

What is interesting is your comment about more training making it harder. There is certainly truth in that! On one hand, you want to practice a lot so your memory pegs or palace locations come to you quickly, but the more you try to populate them creatively the harder it is to do next time. So each time you practice one half of the art gets better and the other gets harder!

At least that is my experience.

I have yet to get 52/52 on a shuffled deck (and I would never perform a full 52 anyway), but I have been close. I think, rather than squeezing a bunch of practice into an hour or two, I should simply do this once or twice a day with the odd day break.

Thank-you again for your comments.



You're welcome. Memory is a very interesting topic. And I'm happy to share.


About one and a half year ago, I had an intense period of training. I didn't do much since then and I'm slowly reinvesting time into practice.

I'm into the process of "maybe" changing my PAO based on different new things that I read since.


But again, I had the same kind of results that you've mentioned. I was able to create images for the all deck, but I didn't get 52/52 cards during the restitution phase. I always had few errors (on average between 2 and 7).

So remembering the deck as quick as possible is one thing. Restitution without errors is another.



Another interesting point I believe is when you say:

Quote:
but the more you try to populate them creatively the harder it is to do next time.



At the very beginning of my training, my memory palace was as journey through London. Each monument was a place where I could create a new scene with 3 new cards.

But rapidly, I noticed that it was more and more difficult to create new scenes, because in my mind, each specific place of the city was finally too repetitive and it wasn't offering me enough new alternative.


So what I did is that I changed my memory palace once again.

It is an entire journey around the world, and each different scene now takes place anywhere in an entire country.


So for example, if you choose US as your country for a scene, for the first deck, you can imagine a scene (the 3 first cards) at New York, for the second deck, the same 3 first cards at Las Vegas....and so on.


Using this is very interesting for me.

First because now, I don't have to worry about creating new scene. There are many different places that I can use inside a same country that guarantee me a lot of choices for creating a new fresh scene as mental image for each deck. Which is widely enough for many decks to remember if I want to.

And second because, it reduces the risk to mix things up in my head because now, for each 3 cards (in different decks), the scene takes places in the same country but in totally different places.


------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Quote:
On Nov 29, 2016, bartleby wrote:
Quote:
On Nov 29, 2016, Nestor D wrote:
I have never experienced the feeling (but I never did serious memory work less than two hours apart) but I know that expert mnemotechnician take the time to destroy the pictures in their head after their training (by setting them on fire or breaking them in a way or another) Smile


Alas, this has never worked for me. I am glad you have never run into the issue.



Yes, I read that as well.

Same as Derren Brown inside his memory palace/memory room who removes a sticker from an object.

I never tried that but I can't see how it can work for me too.

I can only imagine that, with so many different images in my head, I wouldn't be able to make the difference between an image and almost exactly the same, especially when there are dozens of them.

I guess I'll have to try.


------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Quote:
On Nov 29, 2016, Conner wrote:
If you're going to memorize decks regularly you will need enough loci so that you don't have to reuse any individual locus within about two or three days. If you use 26 loci for a single deck, you will want about eight to ten different sets of 26 loci so you can practice a few times a day without reusing your loci too often.



Yes, I agree

I talk about using different countries (see same post above), to be able to practice many deck in a row without mixing scenes.

Beside my journey around the world, I still have few different journey on different cities that I know cery well.


------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Quote:
On Nov 29, 2016, Conner wrote:
Nelson Dellis is a good example of this. He can memorize a deck in 20 to 40 seconds, but when he gives this talk on memory he has already pre-memorized the deck to avoid down time (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pXYqnEwFohI). Similarly, Harry Lorayne learns names before the show begins so that the pacing of the program can remain strong.

If you're interested in showcasing a card memory stunt that actually leverages real memory skill, Bob Cassidy's card memory routine is a good one. There's still a bit of trickery involved, but it does actually require real mnemonics to pull off. Just as importantly, the pacing is very effective to avoid down time. It even allows for what Chuck Hickok calls "multiple moments of amazement", or at the very least multiple applause cues.



Thanks for the video link and for the source.


------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Quote:
On Nov 30, 2016, Conner wrote:
Having lots of loci really is worth every bit of effort that goes into identifying them. The nook and cranny method (http://www.ludism.org/mentat/NookAndCrannyMethod) is a great and easy way to get lots of loci very easily.


Yes, thank you for this link. I didn't know about that. Looks very interesting.


------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Quote:
On Nov 29, 2016, bartleby wrote:
In my case the memorizing of a deck would fit into the story I am telling and be more interactive than a traditional stage show. But your larger point remains, keep them entertained.


Quote:
On Nov 30, 2016, Conner wrote:
Your performance sounds very interesting. An interactive story for the audience whilst simultaneously memorizing a shuffled deck. If you're willing to share, I'd very much like to hear more about what that experience would be like from the audience's perspective; either here or by PM. I'm always interested to see the various ways memory stunts are framed for audiences.



Sounds interesting. Is it possible to know a little bit more about it too.
bartleby
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The nook and cranny approach mentioned above is fantastic. I like one card per location, so I can burn through my locations pretty fast. The nook and cranny idea really opens up some big opportunities. Thank-you again for the link.


Quote:
Your performance sounds very interesting. An interactive story for the audience whilst simultaneously memorizing a shuffled deck. If you're willing to share, I'd very much like to hear more about what that experience would be like from the audience's perspective; either here or by PM. I'm always interested to see the various ways memory stunts are framed for audiences.


Well, I have admit I have crawled up from my home in Spooky. My performances are usually done around a table, in the half dark, with candles and such. I tell a ghost story and then try to recreate the occult experiments told in the story. Tarot, ouija, things like that. I am working on a story of a young lady who, with the help of the other side, was capable of a number of incredible feats, or so the stories go. I have discovered the very techniques she is claimed to have used to allow her special knowledge. "Let's try something a very small and humble experiment, something much safer than what she might have used her powers for."

Then with the room lit by candles, and a metronome clicking slowly in the background, one audience member calls out the cards one at a time, and another maybe writes down the order. Everyone around the tables tries to remember which card came in which order, using the mystical techniques I pull from the story. Sometimes in my experiments people do so well I don't ever bother to do the trick myself.

It would be something like that.

In a past event I had people do breathing exercises and try to guess the playing card of the person across from. I had it in a Tamariz sequence so I was ready to add in any flourish I wanted. But it turned out two different people got the exact card correctly! So I didn't need to do anything. I intentionally missed my guess and congratulated the other two on their psychic powers.
Sebastian Oudot
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Quote:
On Dec 1, 2016, bartleby wrote:
The nook and cranny approach mentioned above is fantastic. I like one card per location, so I can burn through my locations pretty fast. The nook and cranny idea really opens up some big opportunities. Thank-you again for the link.


Sounds very good. I'll definitely read it.




Quote:
On Dec 1, 2016, bartleby wrote:
Well, I have admit I have crawled up from my home in Spooky. My performances are usually done around a table, in the half dark, with candles and such. I tell a ghost story and then try to recreate the occult experiments told in the story. Tarot, ouija, things like that. I am working on a story of a young lady who, with the help of the other side, was capable of a number of incredible feats, or so the stories go. I have discovered the very techniques she is claimed to have used to allow her special knowledge. "Let's try something a very small and humble experiment, something much safer than what she might have used her powers for."

Then with the room lit by candles, and a metronome clicking slowly in the background, one audience member calls out the cards one at a time, and another maybe writes down the order. Everyone around the tables tries to remember which card came in which order, using the mystical techniques I pull from the story. Sometimes in my experiments people do so well I don't ever bother to do the trick myself.

It would be something like that.

In a past event I had people do breathing exercises and try to guess the playing card of the person across from. I had it in a Tamariz sequence so I was ready to add in any flourish I wanted. But it turned out two different people got the exact card correctly! So I didn't need to do anything. I intentionally missed my guess and congratulated the other two on their psychic powers.


Thanks a lot for sharing.

I imagine that remembering a deck of cards in these conditions is very challenging.
Conner
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That's really fascinating, Bartelby. Thank you for sharing. I like the intimacy and the interactivity of your performance.

With your style of performance, it might also be useful to try this routine using tarot cards. The Major Arcana provide for great imagery, which would be important if you're memorizing the cards as they are spoken. Spoken playing cards will likely be more difficult than spoken tarot cards. Also, having only 22 cards in the Major Arcana provides a nice justifiable limit, helping the pacing.

If you're interested more in serious memory techniques, there's a wealth of discussion over at The Art of Memory forum (http://mt.artofmemory.com/). We can certainly talk techniques here also, I'd just be remiss if I didn't let you know the resource existed. There you will find many competitive mnemonists using techniques that are designed for speed and accuracy.
bartleby
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Ah that is fantastic, thank-you Conner. I will head over there now.

I do have my own stack for Tarot cards, and you are right, the imagery makes it much easier. I don't bother worrying about the location for that deck, I just use a link system. If I learn one card (and some of my decks are marked) then I know each one after.
bartleby
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Quote:
Thanks a lot for sharing.

I imagine that remembering a deck of cards in these conditions is very challenging.


Hi Sebastian. Actually it is easier to perform memory effects in these situations. In the first place the pace is much slower and you have all the time you want. Secondly you are not expected to be perfect. You don't want it to look too much like a magic trick, so you can get things wrong. As I said above, sometimes I do not even need to use the stack.
Conner
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Quote:
On Dec 1, 2016, bartleby wrote:
In the first place


Ha!
January
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Thanks for posting the nook and cranny method. I really need help with memory--though I don't feel I'm below average intelligence, I would say precise memory of random objects--like a deck of cards--is probably at the bottom end of the bell curve! I'm going to start practicing this to see if it will help.

The tragedy of the loci method for me is that the one other thing I'm TERRIBLE at in life is directions and getting lost. Smile
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Hi folks, just wanted to say that you might want to check DaOrtiz's C10 system if you want to just create the impression, and have some basic handling skills, rather than actually commit the whole deck. I believe it is part of his Reloaded, as well as individually sold.
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Interesting discussion. There are two techniques in The Magazine Memory book by Timothy Hyde that are useful. One where you set all your scenes Underwater or in Space etc which effectively multiples your objects. Credited to Tony Busan. The other that I think is his original is setting the objects in periods of Time. Eg 1960,s 1920 etc. this is more related to numbers than cards but could be adapted
Sebastian Oudot
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I've read about "The nook and cranny approach" mentioned above.

It's very interesting because it gives you the opportunity to extend the rooms of your memory palace very easily.

But, I don't see how it can be easier than a classic memory palace as long as you have the places in your head.


For example, I read the article above about "The nook and cranny approach":

http://www.ludism.org/mentat/NookAndCrannyMethod

And I came across the game of Simon:

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/5749/simon

http://www.freesimon.org


The "nook and cranny" method has apparently been created to easily memorize sequences of differents colors.


I played the game few times without using any system, and was using what I believe is my "immediate memory" (not sure about the term).

After a few tries, I used my memory palace, which is a journey around different rooms (and only the rooms) inside a house I know very well, and different other places outside the house (I had to create more places as I was playing the game), that I can reach in my mind, driving my car from one place to another.

What I mean is that I didn't create 10 places in only one room multiple times, but dozens of separate places.

And it worked surprisingly well.


So I guess it depends on the way you memorize.

There is not one perfect method for everybody but different methods that suit different people.


----------------------------------------------


Quote:
On Dec 1, 2016, bartleby wrote:
Quote:
Thanks a lot for sharing.

I imagine that remembering a deck of cards in these conditions is very challenging.


Hi Sebastian. Actually it is easier to perform memory effects in these situations. In the first place the pace is much slower and you have all the time you want. Secondly you are not expected to be perfect. You don't want it to look too much like a magic trick, so you can get things wrong. As I said above, sometimes I do not even need to use the stack.



Yes, I can understand how it would worked. The importance of a good presentation gives the time you need, and even improve the all effect, as it becomes a story and not just a trick/demonstration.


----------------------------------------------


Quote:
On Dec 2, 2016, Conner wrote:
Quote:
On Dec 1, 2016, bartleby wrote:
In the first place


Ha!



Smile


----------------------------------------------


Quote:
On Dec 6, 2016, Invisticone wrote:
Hi folks, just wanted to say that you might want to check DaOrtiz's C10 system if you want to just create the impression, and have some basic handling skills, rather than actually commit the whole deck. I believe it is part of his Reloaded, as well as individually sold.



Thanks for the source.


----------------------------------------------


Quote:
On Dec 6, 2016, newmage wrote:
Interesting discussion. There are two techniques in The Magazine Memory book by Timothy Hyde that are useful. One where you set all your scenes Underwater or in Space etc which effectively multiples your objects. Credited to Tony Busan. The other that I think is his original is setting the objects in periods of Time. Eg 1960,s 1920 etc. this is more related to numbers than cards but could be adapted


Than you for sharing. There are some nice ideas.

I especially like the one about setting objects in periods of Time. It gives even more different and clear places to create scenes.
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