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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Books, Pamphlets & Lecture Notes » » Six Hour Memorized Deck - my review (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Profile of Nikodemus
Before I decided to buy the Six Hour Memorized Deck, I read a number of reviews. I was a bit confused by some people saying it was really easy to learn, and others saying they were put off by the number of "rules". My goal here is to explain a little bit more about Martin Joyal's system so others can make an informed choice...

Firstly - there is a lot of discussion on the forum about the "best" stack to learn. Some stacks are designed to have lots of great built in effects (Aronson, Mnemonica, Redford etc). Let's call these "loaded" stacks. Others are designed primarily to be easy to learn. Let's call these "simple" stacks. Some people argue you should learn a loaded stack because if you are going to make the effort you might as well learn one with all those features. The underlying assumption is that ALL stacks are hard to learn. Others argue you should learn a loaded stack, because it's not really that difficult. Their assumption is that ALL stacks are easy to learn. If either of these assumptions are true, their arguments make sense.
So it is only worth learning a "simple" stack if it is genuinely easier to learn than the loaded ones. I have not learnt any others, so I can't compare. Maybe I will one day. But I can confirm that the Six Hour stack has been very easy for me to assimilate.

Another point - there are many other stacks that are supposed to be easy to learn. I investigated a few of these before choosing the Joyal stack. I'll post a comparison soon.

The book is no longer in print. It is available as a PDF download from Martin Joyal's website. This cost $20 - which was money well spent. The quality is excellent (and of course the contents!)

I started by reading the Appendix which explains the thinking behind the how the stack is constructed. I would recommend everyone to do this. If you understand the rationale behind the rules it is much easier to remember them. I find this true in all sorts of situations - I learn better by understanding the reason for things rather than like a trained monkey. In fact if Mr Joyal ever updates the book I would urge him to move that explanation to the start.

The system uses a handful of very simple mathematical principles to assign certain cards to certain positions. I won't reveal these - but they are so basic, no one should worry about them.

It sounds daunting to think there are 14 "rules" to remember. But you don't have to apply every rule to every card. It is NOT a long complicated algorithm. It's better to think of these "rules' just as reminders. There is (more or less) a rule for the Aces, a rule for the Twos, a rule for the Threes etc.

I made a couple of minor changes to the stack, so I will give an example that does not reveal M Joyal's rules. My rule 6 is that the sixes are at the following positions - 1, 2, 26, 46. Obviously 26 & 46 both end in 6 - so that's easy to remember. There are no sixes at 6, 16, or 36 because these are occupied by other cards due to other rules. (This is also easy to remember because of the explanations in the appendix). Positions 1 & 2 might seem a bit odd, but of course 12 is a multiple of 6 - so that's my reminder for those two cards. My order of the cards is SHoCkeD, but you could also opt for CHaSeD (Joyal covers both).

And now the crucial information -
I downloaded the PDF, and read through the explanations as mentioned above. Then I made a few changes as also mentioned. Then I got busy with other stuff for about a MONTH, and did not think about the stack at all during that time. After a month I came back to it. I was able to sit down and reconstruct the whole stack without ever needing to refer to the book. I had literally learnt it from one reading!
I then started practicing a few times a day. I shuffle the cards, then lay them out in a grid in stack order. Initially it took about 5 minutes. On day 2 it quickly dropped to 4 minutes, then after a few more days down to 3 minutes. I have now been working on it about 3 weeks, and am able to do it in about 2 mins 30 seconds. There are some cards that I get stuck on for a couple of seconds, but it is steadily getting easier. And it's only been a few weeks. As a benchmark, I shuffled the cards and laid them out A-K SHCD. This takes me about 2 minutes.

Conclusion - if you think all stacks are equally easy/hard to learn, you might as well learn one of the "loaded" ones. Or if you are a "serious" magician I guess you will choose on the basis of those inbuilt features. But if you are a hobbyist like me looking for a quick win, I would recommend the Six Hour Memorized Deck without hesitation.
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Profile of lighthouse9
This is a good, helpful review Nikodemus. Thanks!
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Profile of Nikodemus
Today I hit my target of 2 minutes!
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Inner circle
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Profile of emyers99
Excellent review. I’ve had the book for yrs. Might have to revisit
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Inner circle
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Profile of ixnay66
I memorized a deck but I just wasn’t using the material enough to warrant it. I imagine if I was a working pro it would be different but I did find it rather easy.
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