Aronson Stack V Mnemonica.

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Aronson Stack V Mnemonica.

Postby Guest » October 8th, 2005, 1:29 pm

I want to learn a stack deck, which do I learn the Aronson Stack or Mnemonica?? I only want to learn one.
Any views??
Regards Mark.

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Re: Aronson Stack V Mnemonica.

Postby Guest » October 8th, 2005, 1:35 pm

I've not read Mnemonica so I can't comment on that.

However, I guess it comes down to asking yourself what you want to do with your stack.

If you want to deal out poker hands then a stack like Simon Aronson's is for you.

If you want the knowledge of card location for your own routines then I suggest giving a new deck four out faros and remembering that as your stack. You can then take a new deck set up your stack in front of the audience, and return to new order deck by reversing the process at the end as a climax.

Just a thought ...

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Re: Aronson Stack V Mnemonica.

Postby Doug Dyment » October 8th, 2005, 6:21 pm

Graham nailed it: it depends on your intended usage. There are many issues related to the uses of full-deck memorized stacks, and most people choose one without giving much thought to same. Any sequence of cards can be memorized, of course, and thus make a useful memorized stack, but a lot of excellent thought over the years has been put into techniques both to make the memorization easier, and to yield stacks that are optimized for specific uses.

Both the Aronson and Tamariz stacks are excellent. They are actually the same class of stack; there are others.

I cover a lot of this in an on-line essay on full-deck stacks ; you might want to read it over.

Though I don't know what any of this has to do with the Collector's Marketplace!

... Doug
... Doug :: Proprietor of The Deceptionary

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Re: Aronson Stack V Mnemonica.

Postby Guest » October 9th, 2005, 9:33 am

Originally posted by Doug Dyment:

Though I don't know what any of this has to do with the Collector's Marketplace!

... Doug
I see that this topic Aronson Stack V Mnemonica' is listed under three different forum sections: Close-Up. Mentalism and the Collector's section. The database index may have become corrupted. I have reported this to RK.

best, Graham

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Re: Aronson Stack V Mnemonica.

Postby Alexander Crawford » October 9th, 2005, 11:16 am

Doug and Graham both make good points and Doug's essay is well worth reading.

There are a couple of points that I disagree with Doug regarding the brute force method of learning, but they are mere technicalities:
- he suggests that rote memory learning is more difficult than mnemonics. Certainly I found it easier than mnemonics, not least because there's less to learn. It took me one day to learn it pretty well and another month or so to be confident enough to use it and have instant linkage of card and number.
- he suggests that there is no backup strategy if the memory fails. In practice I have found taht the brain automatically creates hooks to remember the cards. Sometimes this is remembering the order of certain cards - for me with the Aronson deck 10H(38) and 6H(39) always appear as a pair, so even if I forget one, then I have the other to remember. Other times mnemonic-like associations appear: the QD(21) is having her 21st birthday; she received a diamond on her 18th AD(18) and will fall in love next year AH(22). So for me there is always a backup.

To return to your original question: comparison of Aronson and Tamariz.
Each has built his stack from a different philosophy:

Aronson - the deck should have the effects he wishes to use built into it, with no regards to getting into and out of the stack

Tamariz - the deck should look disordered but be creatable on the fly from NDO. From there he has worked out as many tricks as he can with the resultant stack. Accordingly, some of the effects are less clean as a card or two may need to be shifted.

Features of Aronson Stack

(1-3 form a group of poker deals which can be performed separately or together)
1. Draw poker demo with each of the five players getting successively stronger hands to the dealers royal flush (cards 39-11)
2. Stud poker deal demo, immediately following the draw poker demo (cards 12-28)
3. Ten card poker deal (cards 29-38)

4. Perfect bridge hand (a straight deal will give one player a perfect "No trumps" bridge hand
5. Cards 10-15 can be spelt to from the top of the deck.
6. Ability to deal any poker hand called for to one of four poker players using Rusduck's Zensational stack

Many other features have been discovered since (see Aronson's later books Simply Simon, The Aronson Approach, Try the Impossible and Michael Close's Workers 5 and in particular a simple way of getting into a Shuffle-bored setup that is published on Aronson's website)

Features of Tamariz stack

Tamariz lists 18 features of his stack, although some are weaker than others in my view

1. Easy(ish) linkage to NDO and Staystack
a. Tamariz's NDO is not the same as USPCC's, so if you are staring with a truly unopened deck, you need to do two 13 card runs and a 13 card chop to get from USPCC NDO to Spanish NDO
b. Four out-faros take you to a reasonably mixed looking Staystack
c. 26 card run and partial Faro followed by a cut take you to the Tamariz stack

2. The steps above are all reversible, so you can start with memorized order and close with either NDO or a great closer such as Martin Nash's Ovation.

3. He then list a large number of effects effectively discovered in the deck including poker blackjack etc deals, spelling effects, a set-up for Aronson's Simon-Eyes and others. As I have indicated above, these were not built into the stack (as is the case with Aronson) but were discovered. Accordingly some are not quite as clean as the effects built into the Aronson stack.

Conclusion (for me)

I happen to use the Aronson stack but use purely the mem deck features (so it makes no difference which one I use) with very occasional use of the fact that cards 10-15 can be spelt to (it's relatively easy to use a think-a-card type force with a bank of 6 cards).

I learnt Aronson's stack before Mnemonica was available in English. However, I would probably learn Tamariz' stack if I was starting again principally because (1) poker is less well understood in the UK than in the US and (2) I do use a couple of staystack routines and it would be nice not to have to have two stacked decks and a deck switch.

As Graham has said, your decision depends on your use of the stack. I hope you now have enough information to make your decision. Whichever you choose, if you are going to use a mem deck, I suggest you buy both Aronson's books (including Bound to Please which first details his stack) and Tamariz's Mnemonica as both have extensive work on stack-independent mem-deck effects.

Once you have one learnt, welcome to having one of the most powerful tools available to a magician, not least because laymen (and most magicians) discount the possibility that anyone would be dedicated enough to learn a deck. One day's work on memorising a deck and you have an imperceptible tool; compare this to 25 years of magic and my double lift could still be improved.

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Re: Aronson Stack V Mnemonica.

Postby NCMarsh » October 9th, 2005, 12:07 pm

From Graham Nichols:

If you want to deal out poker hands then a stack like Simon Aronson's is for you.
and from Alexander Crawford:

because (1) poker is less well understood in the UK than in the US
both comments are unfair to the POWERFUL poker work possible with Mnemonica. Mnemonica allows a greater variety of hands in "Any hand called for" than Aronson. Manuel Cuesta's "Back to Back Deals" is, in my opinion and with the deepest respect for the original, more powerful than the Vernon poker deal.

Best,

N.

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Re: Aronson Stack V Mnemonica.

Postby Guest » October 9th, 2005, 2:14 pm

But Nathan, as I stated in my original post, I haven't read Mnemonica. So my comment(s) were in context of Simon Aronson's work, which I have read.

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Re: Aronson Stack V Mnemonica.

Postby Alexander Crawford » October 9th, 2005, 6:02 pm

... and Nathan I am puzzled, since you quote me stating a fact that is getting to whether I want to perform poker deals of any sort in the UK, not comparing Tamariz and Aronson.

My only statement in comparison was that certain poker deals from the Aronson deck are cleaner because they've been built in rather than reverse engineered. All that is required is to cut the pack at the relevant point to get to Aronson's three poker deal effects.
Your example of Cuesta's "Back to Back deals" with the Tamariz stack shows my point exactly: To set up, the following moves are required:
- Switch 8D(29) and 10D(49) in the stack
- cut 10D to the top
- Hofzinser spread cull JH and AS under the spread
- reintroduce AS between KH and JC and let JH slip to the bottom
- Cut JD to the bottom
I am not saying that any trick discovered in the Tamariz stack is worse than any built into the Aronson stack and indeed in most cases they exhibit that Tamariz spark that makes them works of genius. I still however maintain that that a single cut is cleaner than a switch, 2 cuts and a 2 card cull, however well covered or motivated they are (Mnemonica suggests covering all of the above actions (except for the last cut) with "I will control the cards with just one look at them").

There is no question also that Tamariz has done amazing work on the "any hand called for" effect to allow hands that Aronson has not (or at least has not published). I'm afraid that this is not an effect that I have spent any time on with any stack for the very reason you quote above - I would have to explain first what the hands were in the UK before I did the effect, thus destroying any entertainment value. NB this may change in 5-10 years with the growing popularity of poker on late-night TV, but we'll see.

However, I do think Aronson does a pretty good job on this effect. All of the Aronson poker hands are delivered with a simple cut and a deal to four players. The hands deliverable are:
- full house (As over Ks)
- 4 of a kind (As)
- 3 of a kind (As)
- 2 pair (Ks and As)
- one pair (As)
- royal flush (Hearts)
- straight flush (9-QH)
- flush (8,9,10,J,KH)
- straight (8,9,10,JH,QC)

Tamariz's combinations are too many to list, but I list just a few of the full house combinations as an example and the work to get to them:
- Aces (cut 35 to bottom)
- Kings (26 under 27, cut 23 to bottom)
- Queens (43 under 44, 11 under 49, cut 42 to bottom, 2 hands)
- Jacks (switch 49 for 28, cut 16 to bottom)
- 10s (32 under 41, cut 29 to bottom)
- 9s (1-5 under 13, cut 40 to bottom)
- and so on for 8s to 2s
There are similar handlings for any flavour of any hand you care to think of.

As I never expect to do this effect in the UK, I leave the reader to decide which suits him better. Tamariz has definitely allowed more flexibility in the choice of hand but also requires a little more work (and some impressive memory work) to get to them.

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Re: Aronson Stack V Mnemonica.

Postby Doug Dyment » October 10th, 2005, 8:21 am

Alexander disagreed with a couple of my opinions, claiming:
- he suggests that rote memory learning is more difficult than mnemonics. Certainly I found it easier than mnemonics...
Alas, one example does not a principle make. I've received lots of correspondence from folks as a consequence of writing this essay, and the vast majority found rote memorization to be more difficult than the use of mnemonics (not surprising, as this is why mnemonic techniques are created). I'm not disputing Alexander's experience, just opining that it is atypical.

- he suggests that there is no backup strategy if the memory fails. In practice I have found taht the brain automatically creates hooks to remember the cards... So for me there is always a backup.
Indeed, the regular use of a memorized stack will likely engender a variety of personal "tricks" to help recall specific card values/positions. But my point addresses what one does when the memory of a specific value/position fails, not when it succeeds. If the remembered relationship is the only one, there is a distinct possibility of failure when it proves elusive (of course this is primarily a consideration for those who are infrequent performers of memorized deck effects).

... Doug
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Re: Aronson Stack V Mnemonica.

Postby Alexander Crawford » October 11th, 2005, 2:26 am

I agree completely that different people will have different experiences on memory techniques. I just urge people starting to consider what's best for them before they start and not to discount the brute force method. I tried the mnemonic method advocated by Aronson several times and always failed, probably through lack of perseverance, but that was driven by the large number of pairings required to be remembered, mnemonics = 10 pairings, number to mnemonic image (52 pairings), mnemonic image to card (52 pairings) and scenario linking the two images (52 scenario pairings) (total 166 pairings). I then tried the brute force method, learning the cards 5 at a time, so you only have 52 pairings to remember, and had it in a day. Tamariz's method set out in Mnemonica is effectively a sophisticated version of the brute force method I used, so maybe that should be the one I'm advocating!

Regarding backup strategy if the memory fails, I think we may be in semantics. Michael Close (and others) have strongly argued that you need to have a mem deck down pat to use it, so that 17 just conjures up 3S and 7H just conjures up 25. Anything less than that for me is failure. However failure does happen occasionally and then I fall back on the backup techniques of the associations that I mentioned. Accordingly I think that "none" is unfair as a backup strategy for the brute force method and it should be accorded a similar level to the mnemonic method.

I'm afraid I have little sympathy for "those who are infrequent performers of memorized deck effects". If I haven't practised my double lift for a couple of months, so I'm a little rusty, I would not consider performing ambitious card for a live audience; I think people should treat the memorised deck in the same way.

There are also two other comparisons that Doug might want to consider in his summary:

- risk of miscalculating to get the wrong association
rote and mnemonics: low;
rule-based and algorithmic: moderate


- speed of association
rote: very fast;
mnemonics: fast
rule-based: slow
algorithmic: very slow
Of course, with time and practice, all methods effectively become the same as rote memory because the inter-linking step is missed out


Thanks again Doug for a useful article. All the best

Alexander

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Re: Aronson Stack V Mnemonica.

Postby Mark Collier » October 11th, 2005, 9:49 am

For me, the natural back-up is the fact that I have memorized the sequence forwards and backwards as well as the stack number associations.

If I forget that 3D is 24, I will always remeber that QH is 26 and only the 7H lies between the 3D and the QH.

Rote memory was the best way for me to learn the stack but I wouldn't begin to suggest that should be the way most people do it.

Memorized deck work can accomplish great things but requires a substantial psychological investment.

The only way for you to know which method of memorization works best for you is to try them.

The only way for you to know which stack you should learn is to do some homework. Research the various attributes of the stacks and ask yourself what's important to you.

How important are gambling themed routines?

Arranging the stack from NDO is great if you can do it w/o appearing contrived, if not, a well timed deck switch might be a better choice.

Would you rather conclude with a Poker Deal, Bridge Deal, New Deck Order or perhaps Shuffleboard, Histed Heisted or maybe Everybody's Lazy?

If you use the stack for a lot of walkaround, you will need to select material that requires minimal reset.

These are all questions that only you can and should answer before deciding which stack and how you will go about learning it.

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Re: Aronson Stack V Mnemonica.

Postby Doug Dyment » October 11th, 2005, 10:29 am

I doubt that Alexander and I differ in any particularly significant way in all this; we are merely sorting out fine details.

He wrote:
I just urge people starting to consider what's best for them before they start and not to discount the brute force method.
Agreed; in my essay I note that "Its not as difficult as it sounds".

Michael Close (and others) have strongly argued that you need to have a mem deck down pat to use it...
Although I agree with this in principle, I find it a bit elitist and just a tad incorrect. Certainly there is a wide range of effects that, to be concluded effectively, require the true memorization of the stack. But there are also many excellent (and strong) routines that do not require instantaneous recall. And some people like to perform these routines, without feeling the need for the "bragging rights" that accrue from having truly "mastered" memorized deck work.

... failure does happen occasionally and then I fall back on the backup techniques of the associations that I mentioned. Accordingly I think that "none" is unfair as a backup strategy for the brute force method and it should be accorded a similar level to the mnemonic method.
Alexander's "backup methods" constitute mnemonic association techniques in my book. And to the extent that they incorporate such ideas, they should be considered (and rated) as such, not as pure "brute force" memory.

I'm afraid I have little sympathy for "those who are infrequent performers of memorized deck effects".
As a mentalist, I largely avoid the use of playing cards, because of context issues. Nonetheless, I have perhaps three such effects that I perform professionally. Only one of these requires the used of a full-deck stack, so I have to label myself as an "infrequent performer" of such effects. I suspect that I am not alone in this.

There are also two other comparisons that Doug might want to consider in his summary:

- risk of miscalculating to get the wrong association
rote and mnemonics: low;
rule-based and algorithmic: moderate
"Calculation" is a somewhat vague term. It might be interpreted to mean "arithmetic", in which case it would apply only to algorithmic approaches that are mathematically based (and which I suspect are not very popular for that very reason). But if we think of "calculation" as any series of mental processes that lead to a result, we can have a more useful discussion.

In the case of rote memory, no "calculations" are used, so there is no "risk of miscalculating". This is quite different, however, from the goal of interest, which is the "risk of not knowing the correct position/value". With mnemonic and rule-based systems, there is a not inconsiderable amount of "calculation" (to wit: determining the card at position #46 in the Aronson stack requires the application of various mnemonic rules to work it out: four is an R; six is a soft J, SH, CH, or G; that suggests a roach; that reminds you of a hive filled with roaches; the H in hive indicates a heart; the V is an eight... the eight of hearts). That's a lot to get wrong. With the better algorithmic systems, there are fewer of the mental gymnastics necessary with mnemonics (and, to a lesser extent, rules), so I fail to appreciate why they ahould be rated as more risky than the other approaches. I personally find them less so.

This topic, of course, is often confused with the following...

- speed of association
rote: very fast;
mnemonics: fast
rule-based: slow
algorithmic: very slow
This is an issue that I go to some lengths (though apparently with limited success) to address in my essay. The point is that a stack is either memorized or it is not. If it is, then the "speed of association" is near-instantaneous. If it is not, then it is not. The issue of the method originally used to acquire this proficiency -- brute force, classical mnemonics (Aronson, Tamariz), rules (Joyal, Matt), or algorithm (Dyment, Gauci, Harding) -- is, in this regard, moot. Of course there are other issues, such as the fallback option. Alexander clearly understands this, given his observation that:
... with time and practice, all methods effectively become the same ... because the inter-linking step is missed out.
This is all probably more than most people want to read about a rather academic topic. Typically, we choose a particular stack for reasons other than purely logical ones. But it's an interesting discussion for some of us, and I'm happy to respond to Alexander's views.

... Doug
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Re: Aronson Stack V Mnemonica.

Postby Brian Marks » October 11th, 2005, 11:38 am

I use the Joyal system. I consider it very fast. You no longer need the rules once you have memorized the deck. I would say if you use mnemonics, once the deck is memorized your recall should be just as fast.

Mnemonics, rules, rote are just how you memorize the deck. Once you get to performance there should be no hesitation to recall it.

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Re: Aronson Stack V Mnemonica.

Postby Guest » October 11th, 2005, 1:07 pm

Thanks Brian. You got the point!

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Re: Aronson Stack V Mnemonica.

Postby Alexander Crawford » October 11th, 2005, 6:11 pm

As Doug has said, he and I do not differ in any particularly significant way in all this; he has also pointed out that it is all probably more than most people want to read about a rather academic topic. Accordingly if you don't want to read a VERY academic about VERY insignificant differences in definition, please fast forward to another topic!

Also Doug if you are getting bored of this, please say so - I'm afraid that as a son of an advocate and being a professional negotiator myself, I sometimes enjoy the pure process of intelligent argument too much! It's your own fault for your intelligent an interesting arguments!

Certainly there is a wide range of effects that, to be concluded effectively, require the true memorization of the stack. But there are also many excellent (and strong) routines that do not require instantaneous recall. And some people like to perform these routines, without feeling the need for the "bragging rights" that accrue from having truly "mastered" memorized deck work.
Agreed. But there also some truly wonderful effects that really are improved by a mastery of the memorisation.

Alexander's "backup methods" constitute mnemonic association techniques in my book. And to the extent that they incorporate such ideas, they should be considered (and rated) as such, not as pure "brute force" memory.
I had understood your essay as comparing methods of learning rather than methods of recall (after all, as we've agreed, methods of recall ultimately all become equivalent). My method of brute force learning (like Tamariz's) definitely included association techniques and I think it would be difficult if not impossible to memorise without using association of some sort, whether you wished to or not. To do so, would require a super-human effort in mind-blanking. Where the traditional mnemonic methods for deck memorisation become relevant in my view is where you start creating images for the numbers and images for the cards and linking them by association (like Aronson, but not Tamariz).

As a mentalist, I largely avoid the use of playing cards, because of context issues. Nonetheless, I have perhaps three such effects that I perform professionally. Only one of these requires the used of a full-deck stack, so I have to label myself as an "infrequent performer" of such effects. I suspect that I am not alone in this.
I suspect modesty here. The very definition of "infrequent performer" does not gel with your comment that the speed of association is primarily a function of practice.

- risk of miscalculating to get the wrong association
rote and mnemonics: low;
rule-based and algorithmic: moderate


"Calculation" is a somewhat vague term.
I accept that "calculation" was poor terminlology, but you quickly got to what I meant by it, when you redefined it as any series of mental processes that lead to a result. Perhaps we should redefine it as the risk of misassociating the number and the card. It is very difficult to actually compare different systems, because each of uses one in the real world and only has a theoretical knowledge of the others.

- With the rote method (where I have experience) there is definitely a small risk of that misassociation. In my case I know that the sixes and eights of clubs and diamonds get confused and I always need to concentrate carefully on those cards. In practice, the double-check on these cards has always worked and I have never hit this misassociation in the real world. Just the same as an advocate of this system I have to acknowledge this as a risk.
- My allocation of the mnemonic system (where you have now joined me in the Aronson definition of mnemonics) was I accept open to challenge as I was judging my assessment on the untested assumption that it was quicker to move from system to instant recall with mnemonic than with rules/algorithms.
- my fear with algorithic/rule based systems is that you have no conscious or sub-conscious system to check you if you get the calculation wrong. You obviously have more experience here, although given my suspicion that you are actually an experience stacked-deck performer, even you are tainted here!

speed of association
I think we agree here, although I do think it is a relevant comparison for people learning a stack.


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