Watching magic at 2am is always a weird sensation, and this time was especially ‘trippy.’
Let me backtrack just a little…
I’d spent the previous few days working deep into the night on a promotion for Conjuror Community, but I’d had to get up early to catch a 6am Uber to Aaron Fisher’s place.
I’d been up for around 20 hours, and I’d only caught a few hours the night before. So I was hardly surprised when at around 2am, as I was sinking deep into the couch, my eyes started to close.
I could barely hear what Aaron was saying—all I knew was that he really wanted me to watch this Polish guy on the TV do some kind of card trick.
But the video was in black and white, and my body decided it wasn’t going to let me have a choice in the matter.
So the first time around, I sat through most of it in a sleepy daze, feeling like I was dreaming.
Once the video stopped, Aaron started talking about it, and I was forced to admit I really hadn’t seen anything.
Surprisingly, Aaron simply put the video back on and insisted I watch it again.
I forced myself awake—this was clearly something important.
What I watched next was possibly the greatest magic performance I’d ever seen on video.
The Polish guy was actually a magician named Chan Canasta, the aptly named ‘remarkable man’, and the video was a 3-part BBC series where he performed several effects with cards.
But that description doesn’t do it justice.
Chan performed things that, to me, were simply impossible.
(I highly encourage you watch ALL of it, but if you’re pressed for time you’re looking for the effect he performs from about 4 minutes in.)
Now imagine watching the same video while half asleep, not sure if you were witnessing seemingly impossible card magic or just having the weirdest dream.
Imagine my astonishment…
When I woke up the next day I suddenly became aware of something. What I had seen wasn’t a hallucination. It was real magic. Stuff that seemed so impossible I must have been dreaming it turned out to be legitimate effects with legitimate methods.
The stuff Chan did absolutely fooled the crap out of me and has probably done the same to you just now. And I mean FOOLED. I had zero idea of how he was doing it. I felt like I was seeing true magic for the first time.
When Aaron told me the method and about this ‘system’ that Chan uses, it made me realize that there was a whole new world of magic out there that I had never even known about.
I immediately started reading everything and anything I could get my hands on about the system, and quickly started putting the puzzle pieces together. Over the following months I rewatched this video time and time again, and every time I felt a small thrill as I unlocked more of the puzzle…
As you might have guessed by now, he was using the memorised deck…
A memorized deck is a deck in which the position of each of the 52 cards (from 1 to 52) has been committed to memory.
The two benefits to this are as follows:
If someone names any number from 1-52 you know will know instantly what card lies in that position…
…and if someone names a card you know exactly at what number it lies in the deck.
Sounds simple, doesn’t it?
But dig into it just a little and you’ll start to realize how many possibilities this opens up.
In fact, the overview above is perhaps a little too basic.
What the memorised deck REALLY is is a deck in which every single card acts as a ‘key card.’
I won’t get deep into ‘key cards’ here, but any experienced card handler should instantly recognise the power of this.
(This distinction is not unique to me. I was first introduced to this concept while reading Juan Tamariz’ incredible Mnemonica.)
Nearly EVERY effect in card magic can instantly be made stronger with the addition of a memorised deck, and the amount of effects it’s variety it adds are truly extraordinary!
What is the best book on the memorised deck?
Today I wanted to tell you our personal collection of memorised deck magic books. These books have impacted the way I see and use a stacked deck the most!
The undisputed ‘king’ of the memorised deck is the great Juan Tamariz, followed closely by his American contemporary Simon Aronson. Both of the above magicians have excellent work on the mem deck that should be ‘required reading’ for all stacked deck workers, but there are several other excellent resources worth mentioning.
Here they are:
1: Mnemonica – Juan is the heart of magic, and Mnemonica is the heart of the memorised deck! What more do I need to say? THIS is the best book on the memorised deck, and the mnemonica stack is brilliant. This book contains so many amazing effects, and if you could only choose one book on this list make sure it’s this one (the Mnemonica stack is also the first one I recommend learning, simply because the most material has been made on it). Click HERE to view Mnemonica.
2: Bound to Please – I am really grateful for Simon Aronson introducing me to so many of the ‘key’ concepts and ideas that make up the structure of the memorized deck. It is a perfect introduction to working with stacked decks. It contains incredible memorized deck effects and ideas, although the actual pure memorization method it uses isn’t one we recommend! Click HERE to view Bound to Please.
3: In Order To Amaze – Demonstrates how to use the mem deck to create magic’s most beautiful routines and ideas! We’re massive fans of Pit Hartling and especially his book: ‘In Order to Amaze’s which is full of beautiful routines and innovative principles. We’ve read a lot of memorized deck books and there are a LOT out there, but none quite like this one. What intrigued me most about this book is it feels like a book that shouldn’t just be read by memorized deck magicians…Click HERE to view In Order to Amaze.
4: Memorandum – Woody Aragon is just so much FUN and that comes across in his work—the book and the stack. If you’re a fan of ‘built-in’ effects, this is probably the stack for you (these tricks usually don’t require intense sleight of hand (although they look like they do), since all the work has been carefully done by whoever devised the stack). Remarkably, the Memorandum stack transitions smoothly from the Bicycle new deck order, to Stay Stack, and even back to the new deck order (also works well with Mnemonica). Some very cool effects and ideas in this book, including a concept called ‘siamese stack.’ Click HERE to view on Memorandum.
5: Buena Vista Shuffle Club – The Buena Vista Shuffle Club is unlike any other magic book I’ve ever read. It combines original methods, plots, and scripts with “jam sessions” between a fictitious group of magicians who analyse and deconstruct the effects in the book. One really cool thing about this book is that it contains quite a few routines which surreptitiously restore your memorized stack from a shuffled deck! “Matt’s tricks fool everyone except the smartest guy in the room… and that is because Matt IS the smartest guy in the room! The material in this book is material that you are going to do, and love.” – Caleb Wiles. Click HERE to view on Buena Vista Shuffle Club.
6: Temporarily Out Of Order – Patrick Redford is one of the more underrated magicians that most people haven’t heard of—but he’s a true genius, and anyone who’s read his work will instantly recognise that! He’s created a stack called the redford stack, and although it’s not as well known as the other stacks like Tamariz and Aronson, it has a ton of power built into it and is very cleverly constructed. The great thing about the redford stack is that you can get into it from the si stebbins stack (the best sequential card stack). So you can go from new deck order, to si stebbins, to redford. Click HERE to view Temporarily Out of Order.
7: Repertoire – Repertoire has the most beautiful art I have ever seen in a magic book! This leather-bound book, has nearly a hundred of Asi’s original watercolour paintings, showcases twenty-one of his routines. It features a foreword by David Blaine and includes a variety of memorised deck card tricks and mentalism effects. Some notable contents are “Time Is Money,” where a signed bill reappears under a spectator’s watch, “A.W.A.C.A.A.N.,” Asi Wind’s unique take on Any Card at Any Number, and “Double Exposure,” a Triumph effect using a borrowed phone. The book revisits several of Asi’s past routines, updating them with new details and features developed through years of performance. “Repertoire” offers a blend of visual magic, innovative methods, and cleverly constructed routines, reflecting Asi’s style of making magic that appears effortless and almost self-working. Click HERE to view Repertoire.
+ Faro Notes – Whenever we think we’ve created a new effect or technique, we like to remind ourselves…“…that’s nice, but Marlo probably already invented it.” This is mostly a joke. (although according to Magicpedia, Marlo DID create an incredible 2000+ routines, and you’d be surprised how often the inspiration for ‘new’ ideas can be found tucked away in some notebook of his). One of these notebooks is a little book called Faro Notes concerning the faro shuffle, perhaps the best false shuffle EVER, with so many uses and variations! While this book doesn’t focus exclusively on the memorized deck, its in-depth analysis of the faro shuffle makes it incredibly valuable for those working with them, as false shuffles are the KEY hiding the fact that you really care about the cards! Click HERE to view Faro Notes.
So, that’s my personal collection of memorised deck material that I’ve read, and re-read over and over again!
If you’re on a budget or not sure about investing too much into the world of the mem deck I’d go for Mnemonica, In Order to Amaze and Faro Notes.
Not only is this one of the cheapest combinations but all the effects and routines In Order to Amaze by Pit use the Mnemonica stack! Faro Notes is a great little addition that will make your Mnemonica stack invisible for the small price of $7.95!
Thanks for reading what is the best book on the memorised deck. I hope you enjoyed it!
Before you go and draw animals on your cards to memorise Mnemonica read this…
Juan Tamariz is undoubtedly a master of the memorised deck, yet his methods for committing the Mnemonica stack to memory are not very good. Sure, they work but it is far from efficient and the long months it takes to learn can put of many magicians, (they’ve got second deals to practice)!
If you want to shortcut the process of memorising a deck of cards from months to minutes, than the very first book in our Skyscraper Series, called the Babylon Secret is going to be a big intrest to you!
It’s a little ironic that there are a lot of excellent magicians using the memorized deck, with books full of their ideas and routines using this system.
But there’s one area that almost all of them are highly ‘lacking’ in, and that’s this:
How to memorize the darned thing!
This one thing is the biggest ‘barrier’ I see magicians struggle with when approaching the memorized deck.
But let me tell you a secret:
It’s ridiculously EASY, when you know what you’re doing.
In fact, using the ‘Babylon Secret’ you’re about to unlock, you can learn ANY stack in under 20 minutes.
That’s why I always find it amusing when I see quotes like these on some of the big magic retailers:
“Many performers have never used a memorised deck as it is considered difficult to learn.”
I think it’s ridiculous that it’s such a commonly accepted ‘fact’ that a memorized deck is hard to learn. It’s not.
It’s only hard if you try to ‘brute force’ the cards into your mind. But if not, it’s remarkably simple when you follow the system.
I personally learned my first stack with the Stack Trainer app we’re gifting you (more on that later), which is a great way to ‘drill’ your stack, but NOT a great way to learn it.
(It took a number of weeks to learn the stack.)
The first time I applied the method below to a stack, I was blown away.
It took me 16 minutes and 29 seconds.
The Skyscraper Series (SECRET PROJECT): The Best eBooks on the Memorised Deck EVER?
Without further ado, here is a sneak peak for our upcoming Skyscraper Series…
Book 1: The Babylon Secret
In this book, I introduce you to your new best friends ‘The Master of Decks’ and ‘The Struggling Student:’ We introduce the memorized deck, the Skyscraper theory, and the ‘Babylon secret’ method for memorising a deck of cards.
Book 2: The Square Circle
In this book, ‘Master of Decks’ ‘leveled up’ and introduced you to the ‘Square Circle’—the 4 core category of effects that your memorized deck can produce (and powerful effects for each of those—including ‘the most powerful thing you can do with a deck of cards.’)
Book 3: Greasing The Hinges
In this book, ‘Master of Decks’ got deep into why it’s essential your mem deck ‘skyscraper’ has a perfectly greased elevator—and 8 methods for doing that (along with more of our best effects.)
Book 4: The Steel Skeleton
This book was a big ‘un—you discovered the power of the faro shuffle, the ‘steel skeleton’ that powers our memorized deck, and the stunning breadth of effects we can accomplish with this move (plus a method for doing this move that’s so easy…your audience can do it for you!)
Book 5: The 20th Floor
In this book, ‘Master of Decks’ pushed the limits of his memorized deck with brand new concepts and innovations, along with a masterclass on the ‘Holy Grail’ of card magic.
Book 6: The Ghost Protocol
In this admittedly ‘wild’ book, ‘Master and Student’ went crazy and experimented—seeing what kind of ‘unconventional’ routines they could come up with. The result was definitely something special.
Book 7: Unlocking The Horizon
In this book, ‘The Master of Decks’ introduces you to his greatest invention, the Final Countdown, along with his craziest idea yet—building an entire ‘city’ of memorized decks!
That’s a very broad overview of what’s covered. Be the first to here about the releases directly from us by signing up to our email list below…