Card deck memorisation - post your times here!



1:50 no mistakes :slight_smile:


Just to make everyone feel better about their super powers – :slight_smile: – I made my first attempt at memorising a pack of cards yesterday and I managed the whole thing in 17 minutes, with 5 cards that I blanked on or didn’t know. I’m using the Ben system more or less. I’m still very very slow, but I guess that is how I’ll start improving I guess.

My question for all you fast people: what would be the thing you would tell yourself starting out? i.e. what were the things that really helped you get faster, aside just putting in the hours of practice etc. I’ve read the pages above, but interested if anything stands out just from asking the question…


Congrats on your first deck! I remember mine; think I took like 26 minutes and forgot three cards :stuck_out_tongue:

I’m definitely not an expert on this subject, but my best advice is to memorize outside of your comfort zone. If you have to look through the deck twice to get everything right, experiment with looking through it once. Or if you’re consistent around 15 minutes, try to memorize the deck in 12 minutes. The first few times you’ll definitely fail, but after a while you’ll start to be really consistent and your brain will adapt to the discomfort in a sense. I used this method to get under 60 seconds, and I’m now using it to get sub 20.

Good luck!

(Simon Luisi) #1185

New pb: 2:05. With a new version of my directional method. I’ll update it later, under my Less. L thread.
Took me 9 months to bust the 2:10s and it was just over 2 months since my last pb of 2:15. How long will it be till I bust the 2:00s?

It seems that every time I do a good time at Speed Cards, it coincides with an above average morning of dueling “N” back.

This new record deck of mine had a faulty at the 40th card but I ended up guessing my error correctly. The recall took me about 25 minutes. I feel that I’m really improving and that this just isn’t just the luck of attempting so many decks.



Doing addition is actually faster if you train it for a bit, you can easily add 3-4 numbers at once.
The Japanese and World champion of anzan (mental abacus) can add 3 digit-numbers together in 0.2/s per number.

It takes me around one minute to go through a deck with this method, but I havent trained it too much


I just finished Quantum Memory Power audio book by Dominic O’Brian. He used 52card/52loci method in book, and one pack needs one journey of 52 locis. Do you know if he still uses this method?


I think Dominic O’Brien’s competitive days are over, but there are some competitors who still use this method, most notably, Wang Feng, who won the World Memory Championship a few years ago. Basically this method involves assigning an image to each card, then placing each image on its own locus. Quite a few more players modify this slightly by placing two images on each locus, and having them interact (this is what I am using). Some of the more competitive athletes these days are using an advanced method where they assign an image to each 2-card combination, which involves a bigger investment in time up front, but appears to be paying great dividends, as the World Record is down at about 20 seconds now. The 2-card system was pioneered by Ben Pridmore, multiple World Memory Champion.

(Simon Luisi) #1189

New pb: 1:58
Method: directional

The idea of not caring at all for recall times seems to be validated here, since my recall speed does seem to improve despite not paying attention to it. I was over with this exercise in about 13 minutes. If my memorisation times can drop to bellow 1 minute, I believe my recall times will end up within the 5 minutes limit.

To me, the key to getting bellow 2 minutes has been to improve the quality of my overall training, to know when to make changes to my images, to have speed runs through my loci everyday too fast for memorising (and no attempt to recall), to stick to what I think is the best method, to listen to other top mnemonics who seem to have had a similar experience as mine.

Although there hasn’t been any change to my directional method, I will update my less l. thread soon with some very unique and startling perspectives that I have gained from using my very special method.


59 seconds (52 images/ 26 loci)

(Micheal pan) #1191

My best time is 1:18min without any error. I can memorize a deck of card in under 2 minute. My goal is break through to under 1minute.


Alex officially did 16.86" on the group stage of XMT 2016.

If I am correct, this is the first time that anyone officially goes successfully Sub-17" in Cards through electronical input. The exact new-WR Card deck was this one.

Since the new record is below 17.34" it’s probably the first time anyone successfully goes faster than 3 cards per second. (officially)

But manually, the WR is still 20.44" held by Simon according to World Memory Statistics for Speed Cards

Many records are meant to be broken again. But I will be very surprised if someone breaks such a record again in Memoriad 2016, because there are always physical limits in the human optical processing of 52 cards. But let’s see what happens.


Alex’s record will fall! jk it probably won’t. for a while :stuck_out_tongue:


Good trial Everett_C ! 16.81" is even more stunning.
Also, congrats for your 27 points in XMT’16 group stage. Great performance.

As we all know, when the speed increases, then the accuracy decreases.

There should be a balance of both !!

Timewise (in mental calculation). I try to push around 5% of my personal best (PB). But not much more than 10%. So, if I can do X things correct in DT time, then when trying for personal records, I try to do the same X things correct in 0.9*DT time. (example, my current Calendars (unofficial) personal record is 86 per minute, so in my fastest trials I push for 95 maximum. ( which is around 10% faster than 86). But if I go for 100+ I know I’ll make mistakes because I’m not yet comfortable at that level for a whole minute. There is a Mongolian mnemonist guy ( Migaa Tuurul) who can do 115+ calendars comfortably (same as Yusnier). But there are so many unknown details, of how the Mongolians are doing such an efficient training, and they had 2 semifinalists this year in XMT

Another example: If you finish the deck correctly in 20", then I think the ideal next trial is around 0.9*20=18", but not 16". Alex has already 16.86" correctly, so he probably push for 15" trials (which is almost 10% less than 16.86".) 15 seconds is a incredible time and probably many top Speed-Card mnemonists practice around that threshold of 15" (Simon, Alex, Johannes) There was also a Chinese guy in this forum who claimed he can do less than 15", but that’s probably not proven. But before the 15" barrier, there is the 16" barrier, which will be very hard to be broken until next year, anyway !!

I think once you reach a certain very high level, it’s extremely hard to improve by 10%. Maybe 2 or 3%, of your PB but hardly ever more. Once you hit a certain threshold/plateau, then the rate of improvement is slower. But okay. There is always room for improvement.

Speed and accuracy go hand in hand. Even in Speedreading. If one does not have accuracy (=comprehension level), then a mere speed and a hyperfast rate just equates to skimming. (images, cards, numbers, words or whatever). And skimming is not really recalling.

Anyway, Keep it up!



Thanks :slight_smile: That is an interesting way to improve that you mentioned.

My personal method works well for me, but I can definitely refine it. Basically I push to a crazy speed where I can only recall 30-50% of the data, and then I keep practicing there. Eventually after enough practice my accuracy goes up until I reach 100%. It’s worked well to get under 25 seconds, and I think it’ll help me get under 20, though it will definitely take longer.


You calendar speed is impressive!
Do you have the year Codes memorised?

(Simon Luisi) #1197

New pb: 1:55 sec.
Directional method.
For me, going much faster than I can and then training at that impossible speed has not worked. I mean I improved a bit but never reached a full deck with no error that way. Improving my images and their handles is what seems to help the most at my stage.

Sub 2 min.feels good. I feel as if I’ve reached the minor leagues level. I’m still optimistic.


Last 2 digits(year) is memory recall for me (same as all multiples of 7)
But for today (28-Jun/16) I still have to do (28)+month(6)+century(20) +two last 2 digits ('16), which is addition of codes 28+1+2-1=30 mod7 = 2 (=Tue). Addition and Mod division are calculation. But memory helps. After lots of practice I can do it in less than a 1". Usually 0.75" on average, depends on the difficulty (Leaps etc). For 1600-2100 there are about 183K different dates so it’s almost impossible to memorise all of them. So, I need calculation, let’s say 50% calc +50% memory. But that depends on the person. I’ve written more on on some calendar related thread/topic (last year probably)

@Simon Luisi congrats , keep going ! According to Wiki Memory Grandmaster (GM) page, the threshold for being a GM is having a Norm for Cards in exactly sub-2’ min.
The memory stats page lists all GMs who have achieved that feat (sub-2’ min/ officially.).
A Norm of sub-2’ min in Cards is required for being a memory GM


Thanks for the reply.

I use the method by grey matters and the year code calculation (last two digits) is where i’m too Slow at.
I know very few year codes…like the first 7 leap years, all multiples of 12 and the year of my birthday.
But i have to calculate all other years.

I think i’m also going to memorize them.

(Josh Cohen) #1200

I think that this wiki page is more current: Grand Master of Memory. They changed everything around 2013.

The older standards fall under the International Master of Memory title now (unless things have changed again).


Yesterday, at precisely 10:16 PM, I finally achieved my dream goal and broke the holy grail of memory sports by memorizing a deck of cards in 19.41 seconds! To be fair, it was done digitally on the XMT training site, but doing it with real cards will hopefully come soon.

Keep pushing, everyone!