How to memorize just two cards every few minutes

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#1 29 June, 2014 - 08:46
Joined: 3 years 4 months ago

How to memorize just two cards every few minutes

Hello! :)

First of all, I'm not very sure where should I have posted this, so I apologize in advance if this is the wrong place.

Lately I'm playing cards a lot, and I need help to memorize two cards (just two!) for the duration of the hand played.

It's crucial to remember the number AND the suit of each card. The order of the two cards is not relevant, so remembering AsKd (Ace of Spades, King of Diamonds) is exactly the same as remembering KdAs.

All the mnemonic systems I have read about (Mind Palace and such) seems really too much trouble for this simple application. And also, the cards keeps changing really fast (usually after a few minutes), and then you can forget about them and move on to the next hand.

The perfect system to remember the cards would require little time to memorize them, and little brain power dedicated to remembering the cards, so you can relax and play at your fullest.

I have been thinking on a solution, that probably is not original at all. I would try to explain my initial ideas of this system, but I'm sorry I'm not still too familiarized with the terminology you use in this forums. So I would try NOT to use that terminology with the intention of not making huge mistakes.

There are 1326 possible two cards combination. So my approach would be to try to form a short story, that hopefully would feel "new" each time and would be easy to remember short term.

As I think is usual in mnemonic systems, I would replace numbers and suits for names, objects and/or actions.

I think that a "Person -> Action -> Recipient of the action" approach is the easiest to remember. There are 4 elements to remember (Number-suit-Number-Suit), but two of them (the suits) have only 4 possible values, so maybe they can be merged.

My initial idea was to create two tables:
- Numbers (2-10, J-A): Replace them for people, animals... (the one that makes the action)
- suits: There are 16 combination of two suits (the order is relevant), so each one would be one kind of action. Spades-Spades would be some action which name has two "S"(I'm from Spain, so actually I would use other letters).

So if you have 9s 8d, this would be something like "Nina (9) slides (SD) behind Kate (8)"

I have doubts about using the same number-substitutes both times. Would it be better to create a third table with recipients of the action? Maybe objects. So in the previous example, "Nina (9) Slides (SD) with a Skate (8)". Person -> Action -> Object

Other idea is separate the suits into two elements. One action, and the way you do that action. Maybe something like Spades=Attack, Heart=Sex, etc, and for the second suit Spades=vigorously, Heart=kindly, etc... This doesn't sound like a very good idea, but I have doubts, so best to ask you, right?

Does any of this approaches sound right to you? Would yo use a completely different system? Can you point me to some system that you think would be better than this approach?

Thank you very much in advance, and I apologize for my poor English. I hope you can understand me, and reading this was not too much of a pain :D

29 June, 2014 - 10:58
Joined: 3 years 4 months ago

If you only need two cards, you can use visual memory.

Also, you don't have to memorize the cards as they are (Ace of Spades, King of Diamonds), this is wrong.

what you can do is memorize the suit, and then the value, without images, just by visual memorization.

29 June, 2014 - 11:31
Joined: 3 years 4 months ago

I'm not sure I understand your response correctly.

I just searched the wiki in case there is an specific article on visual memory, but if there is I didn't find it. So, maybe in this forum context "Visual Memory" means something really different than I think it does.

But if I'm understanding you, you mean to just look at the cards, maybe create an mental image of them, and then try to remember it, right?

This is exactly what I've been trying to do, and to me it doesn't work at all. There are a lot of cards on the table, and I'm constantly thinking about other cards ("what would my opponent have?" "what card do i need?", "if this card comes, then..."). This really make it hard for me to remember without doubt and/or effort the two cards.

Also, the fact that there are two colors for four different suits, also make it hard to not mix hearts and diamonds, or spades and clubs.

With the system I talk about (or any other that you could suggest), I hope that I would need no effort to remember the cards, and then, I could keep playing at my 100%. Now, I just keep looking the cards back (which is a very bad thing to do, as you reveal a lot of information about your hand), or doubting, or making mistakes that can cost me money. And over all that, it's an effort that probably could be avoided easily with one really simple mnemonic system.

I know, that in this forum, talking about having problems to remember just two cards, could be seem very stupid on my part, but that's how it is for me. And as far as I know, almost every card player in the world (even pros) keep making mistakes from time to time, and I guess that could be easily prevented with a simple mnemonic system.

Thank you very much for your reply, I really appreciate it. If I misunderstood your response, please, let me know what you meant :)

30 June, 2014 - 09:23
Joined: 3 years 4 months ago

well, what you can do if you want to memorize the cards fast is to use a 1 image/card system (52 images in total).

if you feel comfortable with your system, you can make a list of persons(52 in total) and actions (16 in total) and practice with it, but in this case, i would recommend real persons so you can make a vivid image with it.

30 June, 2014 - 18:29
Joined: 3 years 4 months ago

Thanks again for the reply :)

What are the 16 actions for? I don't get it, hahaha

Anyways, what about the system I propose? Do you think that it would not work?

30 June, 2014 - 19:23
Joined: 3 years 11 months ago

I think he means 16 actions for the 16 possible combinations of suits.

Then there would be 169 images for the (13x13) possible combinations of cards values.

Just pick 52 objects according to some system, and have each card be represented by one object. Each time you need to memorize them, link the two corresponding objects together, have them loud, moving, interacting, and place them next to you. That's it.

3 July, 2014 - 02:52
Joined: 3 years 4 months ago

Yes, I also think he means 16 actions for the 4x4 suits combinations, but I don't understand why do you need them if you use 52 objects, that already includes numbers and suits... :D

Bateman, do you think is best to use 52 objects than 13+16? And better than 13+16+13?

It sounds to me that having a separate action to suits would make easier to remember the cards, and also easier to implement, since you have almost have half the objects.

Or is it, that maybe using the 13+16 approach would be slower?

Thank you very much for your response! :)

3 July, 2014 - 14:35
Joined: 3 years 11 months ago


But do whatever you wish. You could differentiate first card from last by making the second 13 images into objects, and the first 13 into people. So It would be PAO, 13 possible people, 16 possible actions, 13 possible objects.

But with 52 images there is no thought required, you don't have to think what the action represents etc..

52 Is really not that many.

3 July, 2014 - 21:02
Joined: 3 years 4 months ago

Yes, the 16 actions are for the 16 possible suit combinations.

I thought that this might be good for you because in your example you said that 9s 8d would be Nina (9) slides (SD) behind Kate (8)" So you only need 16 actions to "complete" the system.

Also, I didn't realize that you only need 13 images for your system...(or 13 persons + 16 actions + 13 objects )

4 July, 2014 - 03:08
Joined: 3 years 4 months ago

Ok, thank you very much both. I will probably try both systems, or a simplified version of them (maybe with a few cards) to know how it feels, because its the first time I do something like this.

I'll tell you how it's working! :)

4 July, 2014 - 07:09
Joined: 3 years 11 months ago

I recommend trying either a suit or something like A-10 from two suits.

You would need 20 images for the one object per card, or 10 people, 3 actions, 10 objects for the other one.

The problem is, it's hard to test the other one without the whole deck. The actions come out when there is all four suits, and then you have to distinguish which card it goes to and such. Or try A-5 for all four suits. That might be best, then you get all the 16 combinations for suits, and can see how easy/hard it is to determine. In contrast, one object per card would just stay the same, 20 objects for 20 cards.


6 July, 2014 - 09:32
Joined: 3 years 4 months ago

After I did some quick tests, I think that the 52 images approach would be the most useful, and easiest to implement while playing.

I had a few problems trying to create the images for the 52 cards. At the beginning I tried making words with two letters (number+suit), in Spanish (my mother language). But it felt really hard to create, and crazy to memorize. After reading and re-reading some of the systems, I choose to make the 52 images using 4 families of characters. I'm actually using comic-book characters, grouped per "comic family". In example, I use Spider-Man characters for Hearts, Batman characters for spades, and so on.

I also tried to choose similar characters for each number. For instance, for number 2, I select one "old and weak" character, in Spider-Man case, his aunt May, and in Batman, Alfred, his Butler.

Comic-book characters are really easy to remember for me, and this system feels a lot easier to implement than choosing random words.

Maybe it will be harder to remember while playing, because, Superman punching Batman, is not as shocking or unusual as a Koala lifting a Boat...

I guess I would add a default action to each character, and the first one would always do it to the second one (whom will not perform any action in response). So in example, Superman, will always fly and punch to the other character.

I choose the 52 images system, but thinking about it, I realized, that a 13+16 system probably would have worked really good. I was worried about combining the suits, and the time it would take to think about the meaning of the action, but I realized that a lot of times, the suits are not going to be relevant, so only in a few cases, I would need to rethink about the action. But it would probably take more time to memorize the cards, because you would need to think about the combined suits.

So, maybe a 52 images system is harder to create and memorize at the beginning, but I think it would be better long term.

I would share my progress as I try it.

Thank you all very much for your advice! :)

20 August, 2014 - 08:27
Joined: 5 years 9 months ago

I'd personally go with a P.A.O system as it will do you more good in the long run.

For my learning cards I took the major system and the card suit for the most part apart from some cards which just suited (!) a certain mnemonic - eg, Ace of Spades being Lemmy (from Motorhead, they have a song "Ace of Spades").

I have all the hearts as attractive women, the value giving me the first initial. For most other cards I used the value plus the suit initial. The action / object either relating to the person or the initials.

2 is N in the Major system:
2 Spades - NS - person: Albert Einstein (*), action: blowing a raspberry object: bobble head
2 Hearts - Nigella Lawson, whisking, marmite
2 Diamonds - ND - Neil Diamond, Nodding, Na
2 Clubs - NC -Nicole Kidman, Nic (shaving), Neck (giraffe)

3 is M in the major system.
3 Spades - M.S - Michael Schumacher, action: driving, object: F1 car.
3 Hearts - Marilyn Monroe Holding down skirt, White Dress
3 Diamonds - M.D - Madonna, Mend, Mud
3 Clubs - M.C Martin Luther King, Mock, iMac

I mix things up too:
5 Spades, has Lisa Simpson for the person, "Lose" as the action, but Saxophone is the object relating back to the person.

One thing to be careful is making the action / object too related to the person. I can remember Einstein without blowing a raspberry but if the two images were absolutely and always connected it would be better to select something else otherwise the position of the card might become confused: do I want the 2 Spades as the first card (Einsten) or the second ('someone' blowing a raspberry). An example here is Madonna where I couldn't seperate the conical bra from Madonna the person so instead went with MD words for the action and object.

* - I know the initials are AE, it's just the NS immediately brought eiNStein to mind... why fight what works?

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