Card deck memorisation - post your times here!

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14 August, 2011 - 16:56
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proteinace wrote:

4:28 for 52/52 cards using PAO. This is using the iCue app on an iPad.

Are you posting your times/scores on the Global leaderboard? I have the top 3 times on cards (JoshToo, GeorgeDRat and Max are all me). I have lots of better scores, but I started feeling guilty about making the Global leaderboard my personal leaderboard, so I stopped posting my scores on the Global. I would love for someone to beat my scores so that I can put up better scores (faster times). I love the competition.

14 August, 2011 - 20:17
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It seemed likely that you carried your moniker over to iCue, and I did figure this was you when I saw the corresponding scores perched atop the leader board (though I of course didn't know your alter egos). My card scores are nowhere near yours...I have a couple of entries in the top 100, but nothing worth trumpeting. My times are steadily improving: after clocking 3:21 yesterday (48/52), I hit 52/52 for 4:01 today. But my recall is slow (usually 10 min or so) with this program, and since iCue factors the total time into the composite score, my results suffer accordingly. I'm still experimenting with various recall configurations...I've played with mental rehearsal after memorization, and straight-up forward recall and reverse recall. I am significantly faster with reverse recall, probably because I accelerate as I pace through the deck and thus the more recent memories are more readily available (but only if I start at the end of the deck and work backwards). This polarity further slows down the recall on iCue since the card entry is more facile in the sensical forward direction.

Sidebar: When I can't quickly extract the card from memory, I quickly "flip" through the characters mentally. I'm always amazed at how easy it is to resurrect a memory this way, and with great confidence to boot.

I find the iCue program very helpful (particularly since I can only practice when I'm putting my little one to bed, and am huddled in a corner in his dark room!), but the ticking timer drives me to distraction. I even emailed the author to see if that could be an option to toggle off, but no response. So I just cover it up with my thumb. Out of sight, out of mind.

After I built my PAO framework, I relied heavily on the random numbers mode in iCue. I set up for 54 numbers at a time in blocks of 6 to match my PAO binning, then steadily worked to improve memorization time and recall fidelity and fluidity. I have stacked the random numbers leaderboard much more respectively (I'm "Me", quite literally) and since I've used this practice extensively through daily practice, the board tracks my improvements accordingly.

Quite a bit more than you asked, but it is good to connect with a familiar name across different memory environments!

Gary

15 August, 2011 - 01:51
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protein - I've added your new time to the board

josh - care to add yours?

16 August, 2011 - 05:19
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Are international intruders accepted? ;-)

My best at a competition is still 40,59s from the World Championships 2006 (omg... 2006? ...).
Last year I had to realize that "close" is just not good enough when I had stopped after just 28s and had recalled 50 cards correctly.

In very few runs in training I got under 25 seconds. I am not even sure, but I think my personal best was 24.23 seconds.

My system is very simple. 52 images. 52 loci.
My images are a mixture of persons and objects. Its based on the system of Steffen Bütow.
Each of the four colors represents a theme:

Diamonds - Circus
Hearts - Human/Health
Spades - Nature
Clubs - Violence/Law

And then the images are found via visual associations (2 of spades is a swan, 3 of spades a flying bird, 8 of spades a snowman) and for the characters: J always equals a young male character (Clown, baby, ...), Q a female character (dancer, mother...), K an older male (ringmaster, gardener, ...).

I am using this system since 2002. This year I learned a Ben-System with 2704 images (52*52) which I will use for the marathon card events at the upcoming competitions. For Speed Cards I stick to this simple one.

Mabye this can help to motivate people just to start using a 52 images on 52 loci system, because in my opinion far too many people worry about having at least a PVO or even a ben system before they even start.

16 August, 2011 - 05:55
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Hi Boris,

Everybody is welcome - the more the merrier.

Thanks for taking the time to add a detailed description of the system that you use. May I ask why you have studied the ben system for multiple decks but plan to keep using the simple system for single decks? That is, why would ben be quicker for multiple decks but not a single one?

16 August, 2011 - 05:56
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sleightly wrote:

Nelson's always gonna be top of the league ;D

Nelson has some competition ;)

16 August, 2011 - 06:02
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The problem with a system with just 52 images is, that they repeat a lot in the longer disciplines. In the last years I usually got pretty low scores on the Hour Cards and 30 minute cards events, because I could not recall the decks perfectly.

When I try to memorize lets say 20 decks in an hour, I had 20 clowns, 20 babies, 20 mothers... While memorizing this images seemed to be clear, but at recall I had lots problems with the interferences. I usually had some gaps but could fill them because I had seen the images too often.

I hope with the Ben system and just a few repetitions, I will be able to fill the gaps much easier. If I have got for example 6 cards left, going through the combinations allows me to detect, in which combinations those cards appeared and that should make it easy to get them in the correct gaps.

The disadvantage is obv.: Knowing all 2704 images is much harder. I am just not fast enough to get a time under 1 minute with them. So I stick to the old system with speed cards. That it is possible to speed that system up can be seen by the performances of Ben and Simon, but I am not there yet.

16 August, 2011 - 06:56
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Haha yes I do. I don't even come close to what the guys outside of the US can do. And I'm fine with that :)

What's up Boris, nice to see you on this forum! I'll see you in Germany (and UK next week?).

16 August, 2011 - 07:30
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Hey Nelson,

It's not as if you are suddenly slow at the process - you are still way ahead of most of us (and way, waaaayyy ahead of me! ;) ). I would imagine that it's nice to have somebody else up there at that level to compete with.

Would you share with us a little more detail about the technique that you use? For example, are the people that use famous actors, sportsmen, friends and family or a mixture? Do you split them so that there is a category for each suit (actors are hearts, sportsmen are clubs etc), as Boris does? Thanks.

16 August, 2011 - 08:03
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Hey Richie,

Yeah for sure. So my technique is PAO (but as I may have written somewhere else, some images have just naturally morphed into PAA). I think when I first started all this memory stuff 3 years ago, I was doing PA, but then I competed and Ronnie White set the record (in 2009) for memorizing a deck in 1m27s with PAO. So I was like....damn that's brilliant. So I started training PAO and that's what I've done ever since.

I tried at one point last year to come up with some semi-Ben systems....adding a 4th card (I tried adding color, and also a second action, and also a natural disaster happening to the scene like a hurricane, earthquake, blizzard) but I never got any faster than 1m30s with those. On top of that, I was still training my old PAO system at the same time and it kept improving, so I was like **** it....I'm gonna just stick with this method and push through with it. More recently, like in January, I saw a facebook post by Boris saying he did 52 images 52 loci in like 30 seconds, so I tried to see if I simplified my system, would I get any faster? So I trained PA for a while....it was pretty good, but still never got any faster than PAO. I think I got PA down to 50 seconds pretty consistently. But then I started getting more into the 40 second range with PAO, so I let PA go. I think the bottom line is that it doesn't matter what system you use, you just have to fully commit to it. I think I could have gotten even faster with it but because I was still holding on to the PAO, I never really committed to switching, you know?

Anyways, I'm happy with what I have now.... and I have no plans to switch to a Ben system ever. I also have no plans to get below 20 seconds either. I'm pretty confident that the longer I do my training, the faster I'll get. So once I'm under 30 seconds or so I'll be happy.

Ok enough about that, more about my images. So at first I started with Dominic's system. Converting the numbers and suits to letters and figuring out famous people, friends, cartoons with those initials. The summer of 2009, I decided to re-evaluate all my images and decided to go with people who were memorable in my life. So I basically replaced all the Hearts with family members. I would go around asking people, what's your favorite number. My girlfriend said 9....so i was like PERFECT. 9 OF Hearts (replacing the old image of Nathanial Hawthorne - which who in gods name knows how to imagine Nathanial Hawthorne) became her. Got rid of Brad Pitt (K of Hearts) and replaced him with my dad.

Anyways, so I did that....the Hearts suits become all my family and super close friends. The other suits pretty much remained Dominic style, but I tweaked a few to be more memorable. Some are just the number they represent. For example, 2 of Diamonds is Kobe Bryant (2-D === 2-4, 24 is Kobe's jersey number), same with 3 of Diamonds and Shaq. 6 of Spades (6-6) is Satan because of 666.

So that's it....nothing special about my system. What I do think was an important part of me getting faster though, was KNOWING my images the instant I saw the card. In late 2009, I made it a point to spend 1 whole day with each card. It sounds retarded but it helped so much. I would keep the card in my pocket, place it next to me when I showered, ate, ran at the gym, etc. So by the end of the day I knew 2 of Spades was Britney Spears, for example, because she had been with me all day.

16 August, 2011 - 09:01
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Thanks for that, Nelson, much appreciated.

I think you have hit the nail on the head in the final paragraph. The method that I use works (and works for many others too) I just need to get better at using it! Perhaps I'll try taking Britney to work with me for a day ;)

A further question just occurred to me. This is for everybody, not just Nelson. When I go through the deck to memorise it I think of my first location, flip over the first card onto the desk and then look at the second card to link all three together, then I put that second card down, think of the second location, put down the third card and look at the fourth to make the second image and so on. Do you guys do this too or do you keep all of the cards in your hands and just slide them across from one hand to the other?

16 August, 2011 - 10:12
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slide baby ;D, it's faster as well

16 August, 2011 - 10:58
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When I first started flipped one card over at a time. But it's too slow. I, and most every other fast card memorizer slide the cards through our hands from left to right or right to left. Me personally, I slide through 3 cards and then picture the image. I actually say it in my mind as it constructs itself, then throw it in a room and move on to the next 3.

16 August, 2011 - 12:21
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I slide through the cards for the simple reason that if when recalling I get a "blank moment" on a locus, I have at least a little chance of getting a glimpse of what preceded or came after it when I have at some point seen the two together.

17 August, 2011 - 22:34
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Nelson, do you have ONE specific route/palace you use EVERY time for a deck of cards and then never use that route for anything else (not when memorizing multiple decks) or does it change. Also do you put the images in entire rooms or do you link them to specific pieces of furniture/items IN the room. Thanks

18 August, 2011 - 04:34
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At the moment I have 12 different 17-loci-long journeys set aside for cards. I cycle through these throughout the week to keep them fresh when memorizing.

As for what I use as anchor points, I use more of a general "area" or "space" in a room, never furniture. I think Ronnie White tags his images on pieces of furniture, but not me. Both ways are just as effective, I'm just not into decor that much :p

18 August, 2011 - 06:02
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climbformemory wrote:

At the moment I have .. 17-loci-long journeys set aside for cards ...

Hey Nelson,

Using the 17 loci approach what happens when you are at the 17th with 1 card left over (3*17=51)? Do you store 1 image at location 18 or do you make a 4 part image at location 17?

18 August, 2011 - 06:28
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Hey Richie...I don't even look at the last card. I can figure it out when I'm putting the deck together afterwards (physically or mentally) because it's always the one left over. Even if there are a few cards I'm not sure about, I can ALWAYS tell at least which is the one I never saw in the deck (the last one).

18 August, 2011 - 06:45
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Ah, I see. The last card is memorable simply because it hasn't been linked with any other cards.

And, of course, if you are rearranging a second deck I suppose it is pretty obvious which is the last one. Doh! Should have thought of that :D

18 August, 2011 - 18:06
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Ok, thank you I do exactly what you do, I just can't get the sub 1 minute mark, I have 10 routes set aside for cards but I don't cylce through them though but will start now! Great tip

18 August, 2011 - 19:17
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Hey LBos11, I remember having a hard time breaking the 1 minute mark too. It was a totally mental thing, I think. I'm guessing you've been able to improve your times pretty easily up to 1 minute. So why would 1 second mean anything now that it's near 1 minute you know? It's gotta be a mental thing.

Maybe try just going through the deck a few times a day without memorizing (just constructing the images). I was able to get my time for that below 30 seconds. That definitely helped my speed. Another tip, the last 3 cards (forget about that 52nd card), I don't memorize them either really. I just say it in my mind (the image) as I slap down on the timer. Once I hit the timer, THEN I memorize the image. Does that make sense? That might shave a second or 2 off.

YOURE SO CLOSE!!!

18 August, 2011 - 23:54
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In my opinion: Be careful with the "dont-look-at-the-last-cards" approach. At least at competitions. It costed me more than one deck in the last years.

But besides that I totally agree with Nelson: I also had this plateaus, which pointed out to be mental barriers, not abilites. I think when I finally got under one minute, the next attempts were all faster and I quickly got down to 50s or so. Next barrier then was 45s. Then 40s. They get closer ;) But when you broke it once, you can usually repeat that.

19 August, 2011 - 20:17
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Thanks Nelson and Boris really good advice I will definitely apply it and let you know when I get to that sub 1 minute mark!

20 August, 2011 - 10:34
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Holy deck memorisation Batman he's done it! :D

I can hardly believe it. All this time obsessing over getting below 5 minutes and then I obliterate it and get under 4 minutes - must just have been a mental block.

What I did was to focus this last week on really getting to know the card images. I've constantly recited them in my mind on the way to and from work and even on my lunchtime walks. I also recorded the details into an MP3 file (*), put that on my phone, and played it between my recitations. Then, when I did my memorisation (about 10 minutes ago) I followed the advice from you guys and thumbed through the deck in my hands rather than turning the cards over on the desk.

For me that's target achieved - for now. I'll still practice but I think I'll devote some more of my time to memorising some other stuff :) Keep posting your times guys - I will be back with a new target and I will keep updating the table.

* I used a text-to-voice program for this as, for some reason, I don't really like listening to my own voice (weird isn't it? I expect everybody else to listen to it :D ). The program is called DSpeech and can be found here : http://dimio.altervista.org/eng/ I may well use it for other projects too.

20 August, 2011 - 11:09
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Hey Richie, that's brilliant! I've been not making much progress lol, hectic schedule and all. I was wondering how do you practice every day? Much thanks and awesome time!!

20 August, 2011 - 12:32
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sleightly wrote:

Hey Richie, that's brilliant! I've been not making much progress lol, hectic schedule and all. I was wondering how do you practice every day? Much thanks and awesome time!!

Hey sleightly,

Thanks. Haven't stopped grinning yet. I don't think my wife really appreciates my fascination - when I told her I got a patronising "Well done. I'm very pleased for you." and a pat on the back. :D

Well, I've practiced very little actual timed deck memorisation for the last week (once only before today, just to try out the approach of thumbing through the cards).

Pretty much all of my effort has been directed towards trying to eliminate those delays that you get when you look at some cards compared to the ones where you instantly just know what they are. Nelson suggested in one of his posts that this was key. I didn't manage to eliminate them (otherwise the time would have been really quick!) but I did greatly reduce them. The approach I took to this was as outlined above (reciting, and listening to MP3, multiple times every day).

One other thing that I did this time but haven't done before. Immediately before my memorisation run I very quickly (as quick as I possibly could) traced through my chosen journey a couple of times without placing any cards, just to make sure there were no delays there either. Not sure how much this helped but I was looking for every edge I could get to break through 5 minutes ;)

22 August, 2011 - 09:09
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Boris wrote:

I am using this system since 2002. This year I learned a Ben-System with 2704 images (52*52) which I will use for the marathon card events at the upcoming competitions. For Speed Cards I stick to this simple one.

Shouldn't 52*51=2652 be enough, or does the marathon event involve multiple decks shuffled together?

23 August, 2011 - 07:06
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My best time is 34.64 seconds. I have two images for three cards. I memorize those 35 images with 17 loci since I lay down 2 images on each loci, besides I always memorize the last card but without loci.

23 August, 2011 - 08:36
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Hi Benoît,

Great time! How long have you been training with card decks?

So, you have 2 images for each set of 3 cards and you then place those image sets at 17 loci (plus 1 extra). Would you give an example of the images that you use? For example, what 2 images would you use to recall : Ace of Spades, King of Clubs, and 9 of Hearts?

23 August, 2011 - 09:16
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It's not much, but I beat my best with 38.02s this morning.

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