Memorizing Cards: PAO vs Object to Object?

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#1 21 January, 2015 - 11:50
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Memorizing Cards: PAO vs Object to Object?


Hi, I have learned to memorize a deck of cards with each card representing one object. The words are based off the phonetic alphabet (major system). The first consonant sound of the object corresponds to the suit, then for A-10 the other consonant sound is that from the major system for the number (e.g. Ace is t/d, 2 is n, ... then 10 is s/z). For jacks, the object is just the suit (I picture a diamond, or club, etc.)

I then link each object to the next via two at a time linking (Harry Lorayne's method). If picking out where exactly a card lies in the deck, I'll link each object to its Peg word.

I haven't practiced this much yet, but upon reading more it looks like a lot of people use a person-action-object method to memorize cards. Is that more efficient, or is object to object linking still just as good?

21 January, 2015 - 21:11
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I don't know much about memorizing cards with the linking method, but most (or all) of the competitors use the method of loci.

Different competitors use different methods along with the method of loci:

This is an interesting question though -- I wonder what the fastest card memorization speed is for someone who memorizes with a linking method.

30 January, 2015 - 22:57
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Joined: 3 years 2 months ago

You should definitely try the Method of Loci. None of the top card memorizers use the linking system. PAO and OO are both solid; PAO might take a good amount of practice to get used to.

2 February, 2015 - 17:35
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When you devised a PAO system for Cards, was it arbitrary or did you have a formula to it (like Major system)?

6 February, 2015 - 12:50
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Joined: 5 years 5 months ago

Most people have a system, and most also cheat their system where it fits!

Lets say your 3 of Hearts is Marilyn Monroe, you might have the action wind blowing up a skirt and an object of the white dress.

If say your seven of clubs was Kevin Spacey (K for 7 and Spacey for Spades) then you could have limp as the action and a box as the object. If you prefer to keep the letters constant and forget about the person, then Kevin Spacey could have a kiss as the action and the kestrel Kes as the object.

It makes sense to have a system, whether that's Person Action and Object all related to the person or all related to the card encoding is up to you.

6 February, 2015 - 13:46
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Thanks for the reply. I spent some time devising a PAO system, where each card value carries a certain group of people. For example, Kings are male musicians for me. For suits, some people have the suit letter as an initial (I.e. king of clubs = johnny Cash), or some are just arbitrary. But I figured out that regardless of how I assign people to cards, it makes sense! I kept the actions relating to the person, because I could be a bit more free with how I chose people if they didn't need to follow a formula like the major system.

Another thing I have been thinking about is number memo. At first I was drawn to the Dominic system because I could use it for both cards and numbers, but I decided PAO was more efficient for me in cards (since I don't have an abundance of loci yet). Do you use some of the same PAO for numbers as in cards?

6 February, 2015 - 14:43
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I used a category based system. All the spades were cartoon characters, diamonds were famous people... What you can do is use the Dominic system to phonetically generate the people, then assign their actions and objects. But since you have 52 people for cards, it would probably be best to use those in the number system so you don't have to memorize extra images. You can do it by assigning a two-digit number to each card. (Spades is 1, hearts is 2, clubs is 3, diamonds is 4. Then make the second digit the number of the card and put the royals together.)

6 February, 2015 - 14:45
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Joined: 5 years 5 months ago

I don't compete or practice cards, but I have the same P.A.O where the initials match. For instance Kevin Spacey is 70 for me, so that's the same.

Like you I grouped some of the data but with suits. I had made all the Hearts women, the Diamonds are all rich or ultra famous. Clubs and Spades are a mishmash.

For me the cards are major number and suit.
A + S / H / D / C
2 (N) + S / H / D / C
3 (M)
4 r
5 l
6 is all Gs to make it distinct from the Js for the Jacks
7 C to keep distinct from the K for King
8 F
9 B
10 is then D or T as I've used A for the 1 card.
J for Jack
Q I cheat with
K for the King.

For example:
Geri Halliwell - 6H
Catherine Zeta Jones is the 7H
Princess Diana - QH (The press called her the Queen of Hearts).
Katharine Hepburn is KH

As I said I cheat with the Queens. What I have is:
QS - Issac Newton - Gravity - Apple
QH - Princess Diana - Hair flick - landmine
QD - The Queen - Waving - Quid
QC - Virgin Mary - eyes bleeding - Donkey

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