Memorizing a deck of cards using the Farmer's Mnemonic System


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For fun I’ve been learning to memorize a deck of randomly shuffled playing cards. Sounds difficult? Nope! You can use mnemonics to make the memorization process easier, and with the table in this post you should be ready to go!

While surfing around I found this well-written Grey Matters article about Bob Farmer’s Playing Card Mnemonic System, which is a bit of a variation of pegwords. This method has been much more effective than some of the other card memorization techniques I’ve found, and I’m sure I should be up to a full deck soon at the current rate (I can memorize up to 15 cards as of this writing). The method is that the first part of the word sounds like the value of the card (ace, 4, king, etc.) and the second part is the suit (hearts, diamonds, clubs). So with the jack of diamonds, you get the ‘ja’ sound from the value and the ‘de’ sound from the suit. By ‘chunking’ the cards (i.e. read three at a time), you can memorize the deck by thinking of creative images that utilize the words.

Working with this method, I’ve changed a few of the words since several of Bob’s words end up being trickier to remember or are otherwise unintuitive. As well, on some words I’ve suggested alternate words which should help in making the mental image of the chunk more memorable. Here’s my list of words:

ClubsHeartsSpadesDiamonds
AaceA-haassAdam
2toquetoothtombstone/Tucsontoday
3throwback/tricyclethroughthriceThursday/tripod/tried
4forkforeheadforce/forestford/fjord
5fixfightfist/fizzlefiddle
6sicksigh/sightsissid
7seacoastseahorseseashell/seashoreseadog
8echoeightEinstein/easyEddy/edible/edema
9Nike/nicotinenightniceNed
10tentacletenderhearttennistendon
Jjackjayhawk/Jehovahjazzjade
QQuaker/quick/quackquench/quahogquasarquid
Kkeycard/kick/kinetickeyholekiss/kisseskid