So, you want to know how to learn the Aronson stack?
Congratulations! You’ve just made one of the best decisions of your entire magic career.
That’s no joke.
When I first discovered the memorized deck, I knew in an instant that my magic had just changed…forever.
Suddenly, I was able to perform the kind of magic most people have only ever seen on TV…without learning ANY additional difficult sleight of hand.
It was perfect.
Since then, I’ve made it a goal to help as many other people discover the power of the memorized deck as I can!
NOTE: to help do this, I released a series of three videos that show you the power of the memorized deck, and how to get started with it. You can access the first video here.
Today, we’re going to be taking a ‘deep dive’ look into the incredible Aronson stack.
I’ll show you the following…
Let’s get started…
History of the Aronson stack
The Aronson stack has a rich history.
It was the first stack to really ‘explode’ into the collective consciousness of magicians. Sure, there had been stacks before, and there would be stacks afterward, but this was the one that really started the movement. Later, Juan Tamariz would publish his excellent Mnemonica, but for a long time – the Aronson stack was THE standard.
The Aronson stack was created, of course, by the legendary Simon Aronson.
I learned the story behind the release of the stack to the public in his incredible book, Bound To Please (more on that later.)
As Aronson recounts, this stack was his personal memorized deck for a number of years. He published multiple memorized deck effects without ever revealing his own stack.
However, a lot of magicians began asking him to explain the order and inner workings of his stack.
Aronson decided that he was totally ok sharing his stack, on the basis that it would prompt other magicians to work on memorized deck magic, collectively bringing the art forward.
If you ask me, that’s just another piece of evidence that Simon Aronson was an absolute class act.
So, Aronson released his stack. With the help of fellow mem deck practitioners like Michael Close, the stack soon gained huge popularity in the USA and beyond.
The rest, as they say, is history.
Aronson Stack Order
On the surface, this looks like a totally regular, shuffled deck. There are no patterns that your spectators will spot by just glancing at the cards. Heck, even if they stare for a LONG time, they won’t see anything!
Here’s how to discover the Aronson stack order:
- Go to http://simonaronson.com/
- Click the section that says ‘Magicians Only’
- Click the part that says ‘Click Here’ to access his PDF introduction to the mem deck, Memories Are Made Of This
- Scroll to page 43 to view the stack
P.S. Keep that PDF handy. It contains some incredible ideas and effects you can perform once you have the deck memorized!
Aronson Stack Tricks
One of the most incredible facts about the Aronson stack is this…
It comes ‘equipped’ with all the tools you need to perform a whole range of gambling demonstrations, straight ‘out of the box!’
In other words, there are several ‘patterns’ built into the stack, that will allow you to perform incredible magic without using ANY sleight of hand.
You just deal the cards…and the magic happens.
While I can’t teach you the exact effects here (see Simon Aronson’s book, Bound to Please, for that) I CAN describe to you what the effects look like.
1. Draw Poker Deal
You deal a hand to each player. When you turn over the hands, from left to right, they get successively stronger and stronger – ending with you, the dealer, holding a Royal Flush in Spades!
2. Stud Poker Deal
This one is a little complex, it’s a multi-phase routine where you deal cards to players, face up and face down, depending on the round. Players decide whether to stay in the game. By the end, it appears two of the spectators are in for a chance of winning the game, before you reveal that you have an odds-defying yet winning hand.
3. 10 card poker deal
Imagine being able to let your spectator CHOOSE nearly all the cards they receive in a two-hand deal of 5 cards, but losing every time. This is made possible by something called a ‘Jonah card’ setup. This setup is built into the Aronson stack, allowing you to perform your favorite 10 card poker deal routine with it.
4. Combine the above
Simon Aronson gives a few suggestions on how you can take the above 3 effects and turn them into a full routine that flows from one into the next.
5. Perfect bridge hand
If you’re a fan of bridge, you’ll like this one. You can deal yourself a perfect bridge hand using the Aronson stack.
There are a range of cards in the Aronson stack that you can spell to. For example, you might spell ‘Ace of Spades’ by dealing one card per letter. When you reach the end of the word, you turn the card over to reveal the Ace of Spades.
7. Any poker hand called for
This one is crazy.
Keep in mind, just being able to do all the stuff we’ve already talked about would be VERY impressive.
Now that you have an idea of what’s contained, let’s talk about the difference between the Aronson and Mnemonica stacks…
Aronson vs Mnemonica
Marvel vs. DC.
Star Wars vs Star Trek.
Mnemonica vs Aronson.
It’s a real ‘clash of the titans’.
These two stacks are probably the most often compared in magic, so let’s dig into why that is, and which stack comes out on top…
What’s the big deal?
The Aronson stack was the first stack to really explode in popularity in the States. Some years later, Mnemonica, the brainchild of Spanish master Juan Tamariz, swept through Europe and quickly overtook Aronson to become the world’s most popular stack.
The fact that these two stacks are the two most popular has led to a lot of debate over which stack is a better one to learn.
Here are the differences between them…
Differences between the stacks
Really, the only difference between the Aronson and Mnemonica stack is in the ‘stack-dependent’ effects.
As I showed you above, the Aronson stack has a number of gambling routines you can perform straight ‘out of the box’. These are stack-dependent tricks, as they depend on you being in the stack.
Mnemonica also has a very wide range of stack-dependent effects, and since it’s slightly more popular, there’s likely been more material published by other magicians discussing a range of stack-dependent effects in Mnemonica.
The Mnemmonica stack does have one other very interesting advantage – you can get into the stack from New Deck Order.
Why those differences don’t matter
Here’s why the difference in their stack-dependent effects doesn’t matter…
Most magicians never perform stack-dependent effects!
Most magicians prefer to use ‘stack-independent’ effects. These are effects that you can perform with ANY memorized deck, regardless of which stack you’re in. They’re effects that work based purely on the fact you know the position of each card in the deck, rather than the individual pattern of the stack.
In my opinion, the best mem deck effects are all stack independent.
And so, it doesn’t matter whether you learn the Aronson stack or the Mnemonica stack…you’ll still be able to perform the best stuff!
And whether you choose Mnemonica or Aronson, I’d highly recommend buying BOTH the books associated with them (nearly all of Simon Aronson’s work for the Aronson stack, and the book Mnemonica by Juan Tamariz.)
How to learn Aronson stack
Simon Aronson teaches you his personal method for learning the stack in his book, Bound to Please.
I would highly recommend purchasing Bound to Please for all the incredible mem deck effects and ideas contained inside it – but the actual pure memorization method it uses isn’t the one I’d recommend.
How should you learn the stack, then?
The Memory Arts by Sarah and David Trustman is a tried and tested method that many other magicians have had success with.
But personally, I’d recommend looking into our very own ‘Babylon Secret’ – which will show you an elegant method to memorize as many decks as you want, by doing the same amount of work (or less) than required by all the other memory methods.