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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Shuffled not Stirred » » Technique to efficiently sort to stack arrangement during training (1 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Schlawiner
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Hi,

let's say I perform a trick for someone and the trick destroys the stack order, later (when I'm at home or without a spectator), I want get back to my stack. How exactly do you sort the cards (in an efficient way)?

I know that there are different sort strategies (from programming on a computer), but what would be the most efficient way doing it with cards? Do you just go through all cards and search for stack number 1, then do the same for stack number 2 and so on? Or do you fan out all cards first and then search in the fanned out cards for stack number 1? When I do this, I spend most of the time looking for the card (and not on remembering the stack number). Or do you first sort the cards into 4 fans (for every suite) and then search for number 1, 2 and so on?

Or something like "Bubble Sort" (Go through cards and compare the 2 cards which are next to each other. If the order is correct, keep them, if not, swap both and go to the next one and repeat these steps?).

How long does it approximately take you to sort shuffled cards back to your stack arrangement?
JBSmith1978
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There’s a lot of info here on strats and sources.
My influence started from Brother John Hamman popularizing a sort from FSDIU. Not sure what the kids are doing these days, but I’m guessing George Tait and Bob Farmer are worth your time.
Claudio
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Here's a post of mine from 5 years back. I still use this method when I have a table top. If you know your stack cold, it's very efficient.

Quote:
OK, here’s the method. It’s based on The Radix Sort.

For training purpose, It’ll be easier to number a deck of cards, in your stack order, on its face. You’ll be able to see better how the deck gets ordered.

Least significant digit radix sort

Hold a shuffled deck, face up.

Imagine you have 10 spaces (buckets, spots, etc.) on the table numbered from 0 to 9 where you’re going to build the card piles.

1st round: rightmost digit sort

On the first round you will consider only the rightmost digit of you card position in the ordered memdeck and deal the card face up on its spot.

So for instance: 2, 12, 22, 32, 42, and 52 are dealt to to spot 2, and 10, 20, 30, 40, 50 to spot 0.

Once you’re through dealing the pack, you’ll have 10 piles having each 5 to 6 cards.

Gather the deck from right to left, i.e. starting from the rightmost pile (spot 9) that you put on top of pile 8, then on pile 7 up to pile 0.

2nd round: leftmost digit

Here you have to remember that cards numbered from 1 to 9, should be thought as numbered as 01 to 09 and therefore will go to pile 0.

Hold the deck face up and visualize 6 spaces, numbered from 0 to 5 and deal the cards to their correct pile based on their leftmost digit.

So, for example, 1 to 9 will go to pile 0, whereas 40, 41, 42, 43... and 49 will go to pile 4.

Once again gather the deck from right to left and the deck is in memorized order with 1st card on top of the face-down deck.

A few hints:

It'll take some time before you get used to the idea, but if you manage to deal the cards without thinking, the method is rather fast.

If you’d rather visualize the piles ranging from 1 to 0 (think of them as 10), instead of 0 to 9, it’s fine, but when you gather make sure that the 0 pile is picked up last.

It might be better, during the 1st round of dealing, to form 2 rows of 5 piles each, as it will be easier to find the relevant pile to put down a card.

Something I have just realised is that after round 1, your deck is setup for the excellent Aronson effect Histed Heisted.
Schlawiner
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Thanks! That was exactly I was looking for!
Nikodemus
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I used to be a computer programmer, and could tell you all sorts of algorithms to sort a random set of objects. BUT computers are not as smart as people. So here is the simple, pragmatic, intuitive way I do it.
It needs a table or similar surface...

You will arrange the cards into 6 columns from left to right. Then gather the columns up on top of each other at the end.
The leftmost column will have cards 0-10. The next column will have cards 11-20. etc. etc. The 6th column just has cards 51 & 52.

Each column has its cards in order, the lowest card at the top, and and highest at the bottom. The cards are overlapped ( by the time you get to the end) so all are visible at a glance.

Go through the pack placing each card into its exact correct location in the relevant column. At first each column will only have a few cards. Put each card in its roughly correct position on the table until there are enough cards so you actually need to overlap them.
EG If your first two cards in col 1, are stack numbers 1 & 8, place card 1 near the top of the table, and card 8 near the bottom. Then gradually fill in the empty space between them. Do NOT overlap card 8 onto card 1, then subsequently insert cards between them. This is a pointless waste of time (but basically how a computer sort might do it).

This means you are never searching through the deck for the next card in the stack. You just take each card, and place it where it needs to go. Also there is only one pass through the deck, and no re-arranging as you go along.

I used to be able to do this in about a minute, but I am rusty - it just took me about 2 minutes.
Nikodemus
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I just tried Claudio's method. It took me 5+ minutes - but I have never done it before, so that's not a fair test.

I ended up with the deck in REVERSE stack order. Maybe I should have dealt the cards face down on either/both passes (whereas I dealt them face up). Also I got a bit confused about the 10/20/30/40/50. But these glitches could be ironed out with a bit of practice.

I think the main practical difference is that in Claudio's approach the card piles are stacked rather than spread over the table. This means you could do his system with less table space. My approach is to find a suitable surface so I can lay the cards out as I need to.
Schlawiner
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Yeah, I'm also a programmer and I learned a lot of different sorting strategies at university, so I knew that there must be an optimal algorithm for it.

I tried Claudio's approach and it worked fine for me (I think I placed the cards face down always on top of each other in a "bucket"). I think I only had to take the cards from the buckets in reverse order, but it worked.

In general I think that Claudio's approach would be faster for me because you don't have to think when you see a card: Just take the card value and put the card into the correct bucket (you don't even have to look there, you can keep looking at the cards in your hand and just place it at the correct position).

With the approach from Nikodemus you would take a card, then select the correct "bucket", but then you need to compare the value again. For example, in Bucket 1-10, if the cards 1,4,5 and 7,8 are already there and you have to place the 6 there, I would have to translate the "5" card again to the number and the "7" card to confirm that I need to put the card in between.

But the difference should not be too big, so I guess practice will be more deciding. Anyway, thanks a lot for all the input!
Nikodemus
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Hi Schlawiner,
When you thoroughly know your stack, the "translation" you refer to is instant. I know instantly that the AD belongs between the 10D and 7S, because when I look at those cards they ARE the 6th, 5th & 7th. There is so little thought, they might as well have the numbers written on them.
It's similar to sorting names alphabetically - you just know the sequence of the letters in the alphabet (even if you don't know the actual positions).

I think shuffling and sorting a deck is a very good exercise to reinforce your memory.
If you are a visual person (like me) I recommend laying the cards out in 10 columns but with a noticeable gap between columns 5 & 6. The space creates two distinct blocks of 5 columns. It is much easier to see at a glance which column is which, than if you just had a solid block of 10 columns. This means it is easy to "see" that (say) the AS is at position 48.

If there are some cards you struggle to place, just put them to the bottom of the deck. When they come to the top again, you will have placed all the "easy" cards, and there will be fewer gaps to fill. This process of elimination can help with the learning process.

You can do a similar thing learning countries/states etc here -
https://online.seterra.com/en/vgp/3007

The game has a "place the labels" mode which is easier than the default "pin" mode. I passed a lot of time doing stuff like this during the lockdowns!
Schlawiner
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Well, I guess I need to practice more Smile
Nikodemus
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Practicing a mem-deck can be fun!
Claudio
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So am I (soon "were") an IT guy and mostly developer. We should start a club...

I mark my Bicycle decks with two discreet binary sequences to express numbers: 4 bits to encode the unit and 4 bits to encode the tens. This means that I can do the sorting in front of specs with cards face down, very fast and without suspicion. The sorting is of course integrated within an effect.

As there are only 10 combinations of those 4 bits I need to know, I've learnt them by heart instead of calculating the decimal equivalent which would be so slow...
Bob Farmer
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Using my method from The Bammo Tarodiction Toolbox at Lybrary.com, you can stack any stack in under two minutes with no mental calculations.
Nikodemus
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Quote:
On Apr 2, 2022, Claudio wrote:
So am I (soon "were") an IT guy and mostly developer. We should start a club...

I mark my Bicycle decks with two discreet binary sequences to express numbers: 4 bits to encode the unit and 4 bits to encode the tens. This means that I can do the sorting in front of specs with cards face down, very fast and without suspicion. The sorting is of course integrated within an effect.

As there are only 10 combinations of those 4 bits I need to know, I've learnt them by heart instead of calculating the decimal equivalent which would be so slow...



Nice!
DragonLore
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Quote:
On Apr 2, 2022, Claudio wrote:
So am I (soon "were") an IT guy and mostly developer. We should start a club...


+1

Where do I apply for membership? Smile
landmark
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Some time ago I posted this:

https://jackshalom.net/2019/02/16/on-order/

It's a method for in-the-hands (no table) order sorting. I explain it for New Deck Order, and then generalize for any stack. Truth be told, I don't use it for my memdeck stack, but I use it all the time for NDO.
Bob Farmer
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The binary approach is not very efficient. I created a base 8 approach which is light years faster. See reference above.
brianconnor
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Nikodemus
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There are lots of interesting ideas here, but some of them address diverse problems.

The original post asked about how to sort a deck into stack order "when I'm at home or without a spectator". For me, the obvious and easy way is to use a suitably large table, and lay the cards out so I can see what I am doing. If any of the other suggestions are faster, I would be very surprised - but genuinely interested!

Other suggestions seem to assume limited table space. Or no table at all - doing it entirely in the hands. These address a different problem from the OP.

Claudio's is a great idea because it is done under the spectator's nose. (
So it goes beyond what the OP asked, but I'm sure is a Holy Grail for many of us.

I am intrigued by Thought Master as a way to secretly stack the deck whilst performing another effect(s).
I am familiar with approaches like A Subtle Game. But that seems rather blatant to me. Is Thought Master more...er...subtle??
stickmondoo
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Fastest way I know is to quickly separate first half from second. Take first half and fan and remove them in order. Fan second half and do the same. It takes 95 seconds. I can’t do it faster any other way.
Claudio
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The world record for "Card Setting", ie from shuffled deck to NDO in the hands, is held by Kunihiko Teradai in 37s. So, 95s is actually not bad at all.
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