30 Day Experiment: Memorize a Deck of Cards


No, I did not do this for the reason you think I might be doing it! I don't even know how to play Texas Hold 'em so, let's just quell that idea right off... My goal was to simply see if I could, after 30 days of preparing, be able to memorize an entire shuffled deck of 52 cards in the exact order that I flipped them. I did give myself a few rules to follow as I made the attempt:

1) EXACT ORDER - The deck had to be memorized in the EXACT order or it did not count as a success.

2) CREATE SYSTEM - I decided to create and follow a specific system, even if others might be easier in the short-term.

3) TIME is NOT an ISSUE - This first success was not bound by a time limit.

With those 3 guidelines in mind, for 15 minutes a day, I set out to accomplish something that I had wanted to do since reading Moonwalking with Einstein by Joshua Foer. As a result of this fantastic book, I have also been inspired to compete in the US Memory Championship, a competition that Mr Foer had won as a bi-product of his research into the world of "mental athletes." I will actually be participating in my second event in March of 2015.

I am pleased to report that I completed my challenge!!! On my first attempt!! Wait for it..... It took me only 27 minutes and 25 seconds to complete. Now, as much as I was excited about my accomplishment, I was not all that impressed, considering my ULTIMATE GOAL is to be able to do it in UNDER 60 seconds so I can compete with the best of the best at the Memory Championships.


GOOD NEWS - The system I spent 30 days learning was successful, allowing me to move forward with my training.

REALLY GOOD NEWS - Since my first attempt, I have cut my time by nearly 25 minutes and have dropped my time to consistently memorizing a deck in well under 5 minutes. Note: I only count an attempt if I am PERFECT with all 52 cards in the exact order.

SUPER DUPER GOOD NEWS - I still have around 5 months before my second attempt at the US Memory Championship in New York! So, with consistent efforts I feel as though I can realize this goal and now focus some more attention on memorizing 250 digits (or more) in perfect order. Yikes!!

For those of you who would like to know more about how I did this... Okay, so most of you would never even want to do this, but for the 2 people who do, I combined something from each of these three awesome sources:

Freedom Personal Development teaches fantastic workshops in Memory Training (among other great trainings)

Moonwalking with Einstein - Check out specifically when Joshua Foer refers to PAO System.

Tim Ferriss at www.fourhourworkweek.com gives a very detailed explanation of how to use the PAO System.

With their help I feel like I have created the tools to really succeed in my memory goals!! ........Now, that I think about it, maybe I should learn how to play Texas Hold'em! Ha ha ha!