"Yes, my grandfather was a gambler, and he died at a very early age."
"Gosh, that's too bad. How did it happen?"
"He died of five Aces!"
since I want yon all to stay healthy, the memory feats in this lesson utilize a regular deck of cards; not with five, but with the usual four Aces. Truthfully, although this chapter is devoted entirely to remembering playing cards, I am stressing the demonstrations you can do with a deck of cards and your trained memory. The systems, however, can be applied to many card games. Please don't think that after you've mastered these you can always win at cards. Keep in mind that you can't beat a man at his own game. I will leave the applications of the systems up to you; I use them for demonstration purposes only.
The late Damon Runvon used the following in one of his stories: " 'Son,' the old guy says, 'no matter how far you travel, or how smart you gel, always remember this: Someday, somewhere, a guy is going to come to you and show you a nice brand new deck of cards on which the seal is never broken, and this guy is going to offer to bet you that the Jack of Spades will jump out of this deck and squirt cider in your ear.'
" 'But, son,' the old guy says, 'do not bet him, for as sure as you do you are going to get an ear full of cider.' "
The memory stunts you will do with cards after studying these methods will seem almost as amazing to your friends. Aside from that, they are also wonderful memory exercises. I suggest that you read and learn the contents of this chapter whether or not you indulge in card playing.
Cards, of course, are difficult to picture, just as numbers were before you started reading this book. In order for you to be able to remember them, I'll show you how to make them mean something; something that you can picture in your mind. Some years ago I read an article in a popular magazine about a professor who was trying some sort of experiment. He was attempting to teach people how to memorize the order of a shuffled deck of cards. The article mentioned the fact that he had accomplished his goal. After six months of training, his students were able to look at a mixed deck for twenty minutes or more, and then call off the cards. I don't know the exact system that was used, but I do know that it had something to do with seeing the cards actually laid out in order, in the mind. I have nothing against this; it's just that it shouldn't take you more than a day or two at the most to learn my system. When you have mastered it, it won't take twenty minutes to memorize a shuffled deck of cards. It might take about ten minutes at first, and with time and practice, you'll cut it down to five minutes!
There are actually two things that you must know in order to remember cards. First, is a list of at least fifty-two peg words for the numbers 1 to 52; these you already know. You also have to know a peg word for every card in a deck of cards. These card peg words are not chosen at random. As with the number pegs, they are selected because they are easy to picture, and because they follow a definite system. Here it is, in a nutshell:—
Barring a few exceptions which will be discussed later, every card peg word will begin with the initial letter of the card suit. i.e.—All the words for the Spade suit will begin with the letter, "S"; all the words for the Diamond suit will begin with the letter, "D"; the Club suit—with "C," and the Heart suit with "H." Each word will end with a consonant sound; this sound will represent the numerical value of the card, according to our phonetic alphabet.
You can see then, that the word you use must represent only one particular card. The first letter will give you the suit, the last sound will give you the value. Let me give you some examples:—the peg word for the Two of Clubs must begin with the letter, "C," and must end with the N sound, which represents 2. Of course, there are many words that would fall into this category; cone, coin, can, cane, etc. I've selected the word, "can." "Can" will always represent the Two of Clubs! Which card would the word, "hog" stand for? Well, it could represent only one card. It begins with "H," therefore it's a Heart; it ends with the hard "g" sound, which represents #7—"hog" is the peg word for the Seven of Hearts. Can you think of a word for the Six of Diamonds? Well, it has to begin with a "D" and end with the J or sh sound—we'll use the word, "dash" to represent the Six of Diamonds.
Here are all fifty-two card peg words. Look them over carefully, and I assure you that you can know and retain them with no more than perhaps twenty minutes to a half hour of study. Look them over once, then read on for the explanation of the exceptions, and how to picture some of the words. Towards the end of this chapter I'll give you a method to enable you to learn these words thoroughly.
AC—cat jC — can jC — comb 4C — cote 5C — coal 6C — cash 7C — cock 8C —cuff 9C — cap 10C — case
9H — hub <?S — soap toH — hose 10S — suds
AD—-date 2] J — dune ■;D — dam 4D — door 5D — doll 6D — dash 7D — ¿jck 8 D —dive qD — deb 10D — dose jC —club QC — c tea 111 KC —king
The exact system for forming the card pegs has been used for the Aces to Tens only. The reason for this should be obvious to you. If we were to follow the same system for the court, or picture cards, each court card peg word would have to contain two consonant sounds aside from the first letter. This is so because the Jack represents #11, the Queen—#12 and the King—#13. It would be a bit difficult to find words that are easy to picture, and which would still fit into the system. So, for the four Jacks I simply use the name of the suit itself for the peg word; each of which is a word that is easily pictured. The King of Clubs and Queen of Hearts will always be represented by the words, "king" and "queen" respectively. For the remaining court cards I have chosen words that begin with the initial suit letter, and that rhyme as closely as possible to the sound of the card itself, i.e. King (Spades)—sing: Queen (Diamonds)—dream.
Don't let these exceptions throw you, they'll stick in your mind because of the fact that they are exceptions.
If you have looked at the list of card pegs, you have undoubtedly recognized some of them as being the same as your number words. This will not create any confusion since the duplications only occur with words over #52 in your pegs. Being that there are only fifty-two cards in a deck, the words will never conflict.
You are to do the same with the card words as you did with the number pegs. Select a certain mind picture for each word, and use that picture all the time. For the word, "core,"you might picture the core of an apple. For, "cuff," picture a pair of trousers, or just the cuff of the trousers. For the King of Clubs, picture the item to be associated as sitting on a throne, being the "king." The same goes for the Queen of Hearts—be sure that in your pictures for "king" and "queen" you have something to distinguish one from the other. (Picturing "queen" in a long flowing gown, and the "king" in knee breeches would do it.) If you had to remember that the King of Clubs was the 19th card; you could picture a "tub" (19) sitting on a throne, wearing a crown, and being a "king." Another idea, of course, would be to see a king wearing a tub instead of a crown. Either picture is a good one.
For the word, "hoof," it's best to picture a horseshoe; for "hose" you can see cither a garden hose, or ladies' hose; for "hinge," picture the associated item being hinged. If you wanted to remember that the Two of Spades was the 29th card, you might see a gigantic door "knob" (29) instead of the "sun" (2S) shining in the sky with a tremendous brilliance. For "sum," picture a sheet of paper covered with numbers; or, an adding machine. For the word, "sore," I usually picture the associated item with a large bandage, as if it had a wound or sore. "Sash"—picture a window sash. "Steam"—picture a radiator. For "sing," you can picture a sheet of music, or you can see the associated item singing. "Date"—picture the fruit, or a calendar. "Dash"—picture the associated item running the 100 yard dash. "Dive"—picture the item diving into a body of water.
"Deb"—is the abbreviation of debutante. For "dose" it is best to picture a spoonful of medicine.
The few suggestions above, are just that—suggestions. You must decide which picture you will "see" for each card word, just as you did with the number words. After you've decided, use that picture only. Use any picture that the word brings to mind; but be sure that the mental picture for any card word does not conflict with the mental picture of any of your number pegs from 1 to 52.
You now have all you need to memorize a complete deck of cards. Since each card is represented by an object, you simply use the Peg system as if you were memorizing a list of fifty-two objects! That's all there is to it. If the first card is the Five of Spades, you might see a large tie (1) acting as a sail on a boat; or, you're wearing a sailboat instead of a tie.
If the second card were the Eight of Diamonds, you could see Noah (2) diving into the water. Third card—Two of Spades—see your ma (3) in the sky instead of the sun. Fourth card—Queen of Diamonds—see a bottle of rye (4)
sleeping and dreaming; or, you are dreaming of a bottle of rye. Fifth card—Three of Clubs—see a gigantic comb walking the beat like a cop (law—5), or a policeman is arresting a comb, and so on.
When you are demonstrating this for your friends, have the peg word for # 1 in your mind before he starts calling the cards. As soon as you hear the first one, associate the card word for that particular card with the peg word, "tie." Then immediately get the peg word for #2 in your mind, etc. When you've memorized the entire deck in this fashion, call the cards off in order, from one to fifty-two! You can have your friend call any number and you tell him the card at that position, or, have him call any card and you tell him at which number it is in the deck.
Of course, you don't have to memorize the entire deck to impress your friends. If you wish to present a faster demonstration, you can remember half the deck. This is just as effective, because it is just about impossible for anyone with an untrained memory to remember twenty-six cards, in and out of order.
However, if it is a fast demonstration you want, the one that follows is the fastest, most impressive, and yet, the easiest of them all! This is called the "missing card" stunt. You have anyone remove, say, five or six cards from a complete deck, and have them put them in a pocket. Now, let your friend call the remaining cards to you at a fairly rapid pace. After he has called all of them, you tell him the names of the five or six missing cards!!
I told you that this was easy to accomplish, and it is. Here is all you have to do:— As soon as a card is called, transpose it to the representative card peg word, and then— mutilate that object in some way! That's it! Let me explain. Assume that the Four of Hearts is called—just "sec" a picture of a hare with no ears. If the Five of Diamonds is called, see a doll with an arm or leg missing. If you hear the King of Diamonds, see a spilled drink. That's all you have to do. Don't linger over your associations, just see the picture for the merest fraction of a second, and you're ready for the next card.
This can be done quickly because you are cutting out one mental calisthenic, so to speak. You're not using your number pegs at all. Of course, the speed with which the cards can be called is just a matter of practice. I can assure you that after a while, you will practically "see" the picture in your mind, before your friend is through naming the card!
Now—after all the cards have been called, go over the words for the cards in your mind. The best way to do this, is to go from Ace to King of one suit at a time. When you come to an object that is not mutilated or broken in any way, that must be one of the missing cards! For example, you start down your list of words for the Club cards: cat— you had pictured the cat without a tail. Can—you had seen a tin can that was crushed. Comb—you had pictured a comb with all its teeth missing or broken. Core—you do not recall anything wrong with the core, therefore, the Four of Clubs is one of the missing cards. The unmutilated words will stand out in your mind like a sore thumb as soon as you come to them. You need only try it once, to be convinced.
I suggest that you always use the same suit order when going over your card words mentally. It doesn't matter which order you use, as long as you can remember it easily. I use, Clubs, Hearts, Spades and Diamonds because it's easy to remember. Just think of the word,—CHaSeD. If you wanted to use Hearts, Spades, Diamonds and Clubs order, you could remember that, by thinking of the phrase— HiS DeCk.
Incidentally, if you wanted to demonstrate your Bridge playing technique, you could do the missing card stunt with thirteen missing cards. The amount of cards taken from the deck before the deck is called to you doesn't make any difference. You could even have half the deck called, and then name all the cards in the other half!
After my own performances, I think that the thing my audiences talk about the most, except perhaps names and faces, are the card demonstrations that I do. They are very impressive to most people, whether or not they play cards.
I'm sure that most of you have read this far without actually learning the card words. Now that you see the things you can do with them, I hope you will learn them. By the way, do any of you see how you can apply the missing card idea to games like Gin Rummy, Bridge, Pinochle, Casino, or for that matter, to any game where it is to your advantage to know which cards have or haven't been played? I will leave that to you.
In a later chapter, you will find some more stunts and ideas with cards. However, one more thought before I close this chapter—If you wanted to remember a deck of cards in order only, you could do it quickly by using the Link method alone! You would simply link the card pegs to each other as they were called. Of course, you wouldn't know them out of sequence with this method.
I keep telling you to have the cards called off to you; but it's just as good to look at the cards to remember them. It just adds a little to the effect upon your spectators, if you do not look at them.
After going over the card words mentally, a few times, you can use a deck of cards to help you practice. Shuffle the deck, turn the cards face up, one at a time, calling out or thinking of the peg word for each one. When you can go through the entire deck at a fairly brisk pace without hesitating, then you know your card words.
And when you do, would you try your new found ability on test #4 in Chapter #3? I think you will be pleased at the difference in your scores.
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