In 2009 I set a USA record for the fastest to memorize a deck of cards. I did it in 1 minute and 27 seconds. This record stood for two years in the United States. Now this may seem freakishly fast. But the good news for anyone attempting to memorize a deck of cards is that the first time I tried – just a year before – it took me over 6 minutes! I was not born with a natural ability; instead, I perfected a system that anyone can learn to memorize a deck of cards with seemingly superhuman speed.
The system consists of two main ingredients:
1. Creating a mental map 2. Creating substitute images for each playing card
Create a Mental Map
To create your mental map, you are going to take an imaginary walk, memorizing items as you go along. My suggestion is that you select a route you walk daily in your real life, such as a walk through your home. As you “walk,” you need to select 52 spots to store in your mental journal.
Here’s how it works:
- Select 5 rooms in your house (i.e., bedroom, bathroom, kitchen, living room, garage).
- Memorize 10 pieces of furniture in each room. Stand in the doorway of each room, and looking around the room, number 10 large items in a clockwise direction. For example, the first piece of furniture on your left may be a desk. Going around the room clockwise, #2 might be your bed, #3 could be a dresser, #4 a mirror, #5 a TV, etc. It really doesn’t matter which items you select, but if you use a television in one room, avoid using a television in another. And choose large items over small ones (e.g., the desk, not a pencil on the desk).
- Repeat these 50 items over and over in your head until you can close your eyes and say them flawlessly and rapidly.
- Now add 2 more pieces of furniture at the end – maybe in a new room or even 2 landmarks in your yard.
Create Images for Every Playing Card
This next part is where you use your creativity, and it is 100% up to you how you create the images. But every card needs to be turned into a noun (person, place, or thing). For example:
- King of Hearts could be your dad.
- Queen of Hearts could be your mom.
- Ace of Diamonds could be Donald Trump (diamonds = rich).
- 5 of Hearts could be your daughter Kailey because she is 5 years old and you love her (hearts could mean love for you).
- Queen of Clubs could be Madonna because she is a woman and sang in dance clubs. 3 of Diamonds could be a touchdown because three starts with a “T” and Diamonds a “D.” It’s a TD!
- King of Clubs could be Elvis because he is a male and sang in clubs.
- Ace of Hearts could be an airplane because they call a pilot who shoots down a lot of planes an “Ace,” and they stop hearts from beating.
- 6 of Hearts could be a tank because a 6 on its side kind of looks like a tank and tanks stop hearts from beating.
- 7 of Hearts could be dice because of “lucky 7? and you love to play dice (again, hearts = love).
- Jack of Hearts could be someone named Jack or a name that starts with “J” that you love.