Hot, sunny Sundays are perfect days for practicing, and today I finally kicked off my memory challenge. And believe it or not, after only a couple of hours in Birsköpfli, I managed to memorize the entire deck of 52 playing cards! And not only temporary; five hours later, after both beer and wine, I was able to show off my newly acquired skills to my friends!
So, how did I do it? As described here, I first gave each of the 52 cards unique initials. I then related these initials to people or objects. Then, using the memory palace technique, I worked my way through the deck, card by card, and stored these people/objects as stories in the rooms of my palace. For example, the Swedish band GES was playing in my front yard; Jesus Christ wearing a crazy hat was prevented from entering my house by Arnold Schwarzenegger; and a naked Mahatma Gandhi was singing Frank Sinatra songs together with Donkey Kong, to the beautiful sound of a violin.
The cool thing about this technique is that I am really not memorizing cards, but a story. I could impossibly tell which the 29th card is from the top of my head – I don’t even remember the first three cards! But by walking through my palace and the events, I can decode it into cards.
Okay, it took me an hour to memorize the entire deck, which is about 12 times slower than the final goal, but nevertheless – it’s a day/deck to remember! The question is now what will happen once I start memorizing new shuffles. Will I confuse those new stories with my first? I guess I will soon find out…
For personal and future reference, here follows the the order of my first memorized deck of cards:
7♠ Q♠ 10♣ A♣ 5♣ A♠ 8♠ 3♣ J♣ 2♠ J♥ K♥ 5◆ 4◆ 3◆ 2◆ A◆ 5♥ 9◆ 3♠ 10♠ J◆ A♥ K◆ 8◆ 6♣ K♣ J♠ 7♥ Q♣ 4♣ 6♠ 10◆ 3♥ 4♥ K♠ 7♣ 2♥ 6◆ 9♣ 9♠ 10♥ 4♠ 5♠ 8♣ Q◆ 6♥ 9♥ 8♥ Q♥ 2♣ 7◆