Pao system for memorizing cards

Hi everyone!

I ask you for an opinion. I have just created my PAO system to memorize decks of cards by associating a category to each suit, as follows:

  • hearts: family and friends
  • diamonds: celebrities
  • clubs: sportsmen and athletes
  • spades: fictitious characters from cartoons or films

To the cards with faces I have attributed arbitrary characters-actions-objects, while as regards the cards with numbers I have converted phonetically only the card number, I have not also attributed a number to the suit. At the time of the recall, based on the character-action-object that I memorized I understand what suit it corresponds to.

THE QUESTION IS: Do you think it works like this or is it better to use the two-digit major system? What advantages can it bring me?

Thanks a lot, and good training to all :slight_smile:



In the end it matters more how easily you can imagine and distinguish the persons, actions and objects. How you build the system is entirely up to you.

I have a similar kind of system, also working with categories. So it can definitely work :slight_smile: I dont think it has any specific advantages over a major system though, aside from advantages to you. If it feels more comfortable, then that’s the advantage.

1 Like

Thank you very much for your answer Maya. I created my PAO system 2 days ago and now I am able to memorize a deck of cards in about 5-6 minutes making some mistakes of course. In the next days, I’d like to see how many decks of cards I can memorize in 30 minutes. Have you ever tried? :slight_smile:

1 Like

I prefer PAO system because I feel less cognitive load and easier to recall images.


The selection of the system depends entirely on your preferences. But for me, PAO is the most interesting system. The images of people can be emotional, multifaceted and sexual. 30 years ago, Dominic O`Brien guessed this, and therefore developed the PA system. As he said: “The images of people are most preferable in this regard”. How to create a system? Cards with pictures themselves give us a character. So, I even noticed before that when I hold the Queen of Spades in my hands, I involuntarily think about Monica Bellucci. As for cards with numbers. It is better to use the Dominic system or the Major system. So the selection will happen faster. So the six of hearts does not cause me almost any associations, but here comes the reminder of the Dominic system, which says that it is SH - Stephen Hawking. And it’s much easier for me to go further than clearly trying to cause some kind of absurd association to this card. I think so, if your association with the map is obvious, take the person you like. But, as soon as the selection of an association becomes difficult, one should resort to any auxiliary system. Also, never forget about a really important point. When you pick up cards, it’s better to have a ready-made PAO for numbers. So the selection of people will happen really quickly.

1 Like

A quick question to you guys who practice memorizing cards: how do you remember each shuffle or sequence when you have to remember 5 or 6 (or even more) times consecutively?
Say, I have a system identifying each card. Then I create a story as the cards are revealed. So you remember the story.
Now for the next time (or in the few times after that), if the deck is similar, how do you ensure that you remember the right story? And as you keep doing, how do you forget earlier stories so that you know you have current sequence in your mind?
Each time you do, you have to weave a story with the same characters in different sequences. Do the stories not jumble up in your head as you keep doing it?

I categorically do not recommend making a global story. Now there is a suspicion that it is better not to associate the images of numbers in associations, otherwise this will lead to the erasure of the previous one. Nevertheless, it is better to limit ourselves to a simple mental journey, where at each location a person with his action or object will be waiting for you. If you are interested in whether I am sure that I remember exactly the situation that was the last time, then the answer is very simple. New connections between people and loci erase old ones. Of course, there is such an unpleasant thing as the “echo effect”, Idriz Zogai described it. When old connections interrupt new ones. In this case, you need to relax or even try to eliminate these memories, imagining that you just wash them with a rag. In any case, the echo effect will last no more than a couple of hours. It just shows you that it’s time to let your mind rest.

Ok, so basically you allow your memory to dissipate the old story…