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Profile of obi-wan
I've recently bought the Simon Aronson 3 DVD set and have learned his stack (although I'm finding learning the stack and using it are 2 different things as I start practicing Two Beginnings!)

I'm very impressed with Simon's magic and would like to pick up one of his books so would like to know which you would recommend first?
I'm interested in memorized deck effects (including Aronson Stack specific effects) and also impromptu effects from a shuffled deck but I'm less interested in effects involving gaffed cards.
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Profile of Nikodemus
There is a very useful discussion of Simon's books here -

I'm finding learning the stack and using it are 2 different things

Interesting comment but a bit ambiguous - what's the problem? Is it that you kind of know it, but not thoroughly yet? Just keep using it and it won't be long before it's automatic.
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Profile of obi-wan
Hi Nikodemus, yes I thought I had it down but realised that when it comes to quick recall while pattering and performing mental arithmetic I'm not quite there yet!

Thanks for the thread which seems to be mostly split between Bound to Please for the background and Try the Impossible for the latest thoughts. I wonder if anyone has any thoughts on Art Decko as I think that thread predates it's release?
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Profile of Waterloophai
Art Decko is not about the memorized deck.
With Bound to please, you can't go wrong.
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Profile of landmark
If you know the stack, I'd put in a good word for Simply Simon. It's not all memdeck, but there are some awesome memdeck effects in there. And the rest of the book is great, too.
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Yes, being a long time fan of Simon, I would recommend "Simply Simon" first if we talk about the MD... apart that all of his books are fantastic. Jan
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Profile of The_MetalMaster
On Aug 29, 2020, obi-wan wrote:
although I'm finding learning the stack and using it are 2 different things as I start practicing Two Beginnings!

Keep practicing, you’ll be glad you did. This is how I started out by performing Two Beginnings all the time. I think it may turn out to be your favorite eventually with the audience reactions, and how simple and direct it is.
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Profile of obi-wan
Thanks for the recommendations.
I couldn't decide between the two so picked up Bound to Please and Simply Simon which should give me enough memdeck work to keep me going for a long time.

Also my Two Beginnings practice has been going well and I'm getting very close to performance level now.
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Profile of Waterloophai
Below a small article that I once wrote.
Insiders know where ... Smile

How to include, as a beginner, the use of a memorized deck in your act?

Even if you have mastered your memorized deck at home, and you can go from card to location (number) and from location to card without any hesitation; there is a BIG difference between "doing it at home" and "performing in public". There are two reasons for this.
1) Just the stress and the fright of having a blackout at the crucial moment can cause a blackout.
2) It becomes a lot harder if you are talking to your audience during your performance. You have to talk casual and fluently AND at the same time reproduce the card or location in your head = multitasking!
You suddenly have to do two things at once.

General rule:

When you practice your memorized deck at home, always do it out loud WITH the parlando that you will use during your performance.
This way you will get used to reproducing a card or number WHILE you are talking about something completely different.

My opinion is that you have to insert your MD skills into your act STEP BY STEP.

The first step is to do NO memorized tricks and perform your "regular" repertoire, but whenever a card is chosen or named (in whatever trick you do), try to reproduce the location or identity of that card for yourself.
It has nothing to do with the trick you are doing of course, but you will find out (or not) if you are able to immediately know the location or identity of a card during a performance IF it had been a memorized trick.
You can also apply the same principle in reverse:
Suppose you have a trick where it does not matter which card the spectator chooses (free choice).
Ask the spectator to shuffle the deck thoroughly so that no one knows the order and then let him name a number from 1 to 52. Then let him count down the cards until he has reached his chosen number. More fair is not possible and you can just do your trick which has nothing to do with a memorized deck.
However, in the meantime you can test for yourself, IF it had been a memorized deck, you would be able to know the card immediately if a spectator calls a number and counts to his card.

Incorporate ONE memorized trick into your repertoire where you only need to reproduce ONE card or location and do not have to do any calculations AND where you have a little time to think.
You can do that in the following ways:
1) Just like the example in step 1, but with a memorized deck.
While the spectator is counting down his mentioned number, you have plenty of time to translate his number into the identity of the card.

2) Do a trick where you only need to know the next or previous card. (I call them Si Stebbins tricks 😊). Because they are simple, they are therefore not inferior.

As a safety measure, try to gain some time in a way that it certainly does not stand out. Step 2.1 above is a good example (the spectator must count down cards.)
Another good way is to use a birthday book or calendar with a different playing card for each day. While the spectator looks up his birthday, you get extra time.

Incorporate 1 memorized trick into your repertoire where you must reproduce multiple cards or locations that follow each other.
In many memdeck tricks you do the revelation of 3 cards that follow each other.
(you find several examples in the web eBook)

It is only when you are confident of the previous 3 steps during a public performance, that you incorporate tricks where you have to search between a series of cards which card is missing, is added or where the order of your MD is interrupted.
In itself this is all very easy, but this becomes a lot harder while you are talking.

STEP 5 (last one)
it is only after a thorough experience in performing with an MD in public, you do tricks where you also have to do calculations. These tricks also have gradations, of course. You can hardly call the addition of the number 10 or the subtraction of the number 1 a "calculation".
Performing an acaan for example (= a certain card must end up in a certain place) or any trick where you need to know the correct location of a certain card by only looking at the bottom card of your stack, is not so obvious to execute quick and without any interruption or hesitation when you are talking to your audience.

I am not in favor of a crib (hidden list for peeking).
If you still need a crib, it means that you are not ready yet to perform with a memorized deck in public.
A crib offers you "so to speak" a way out of a blackout but at the same time makes you psychologically dependent on it forever.
A better solution in the event of a blackout is to immediately switch to a strong trick (always the same!) that does not require a memorized deck.
You need such a trick anyway in case the spectator asks to shuffle the cards.
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