Monday, July 10, 2006

How to remember the cards that have been played

To be a great euchre player, you have to be able to remember the cards that are played. For euchre where there are only 24 cards, this is not nearly as difficult as it is for a game like bridge where there are 52 cards. But even with 24 cards it is easy to forget “what’s out there”. Here is a (nearly) practical method you can use for remembering the cards that are played. It takes some practice but once you get it, it’ll be much easier and your natural memory skills will improve immensely.

Pictures are easier to remember than cards
The key to memorizing cards is to substitute a memorable picture for each card. Cards themselves are not very memorable but your pictures can be.

The system works like this. Suppose Spades were trump and you wanted to keep track of the Ace of Spades. It’s relatively easy to do if this is the only card you are trying to remember. Essentially, you will just keep paying attention to what is played until you see the Ace of Spades. But if you were trying to remember every spade that was played along with all the off-suit cards, you would soon find it nearly impossible.

That’s where the substitution system comes into play. To use the system you substitute a different word for Ace of Spades and then create a memorable picture about the card when it’s played. A suitable substitute word for Ace of Spades is the word Suit. To remember when something is played, it is useful to picture a destroyed version of you substitute word. For example, when the Ace of Spades is played you picture in your mind’s eye a suit that has been ripped, torn and worn. The more damaged the suit the better. When you wonder whether a card has been played or not you look at the substitute word in your mind and see its condition. If it’s destroyed, the card is played. If not, the card has not been played.

Here is a complete list of substitute pictures you can use for each card. For the system to work you need to memorize these substitute words.

Ace of Spades - Suit
King of Spades - Sing
Queen of Spades - Steam
Jack of Spades - Spade
10 of Spades - Sauce
9 of Spades - Soap

Ace of Clubs - Cat
King of Clubs - King
Queen of Clubs - Cream
Jack of Clubs - Club
10 of Clubs - Case
9 of Clubs - Cob

Ace of Diamonds - Dot
King of Diamonds - Drink
Queen of Diamonds - Dream
Jack of Diamonds - Diamond
10 of Diamonds - Dice
9 of Diamonds - Diaper

Ace of Hearts - Hat
King of Hearts - Hinge
Queen of Hearts - Queen
Jack of Hearts - Heart
10 of Hearts - Hose
9 of Hearts - Hoop

Practice makes perfect.
The way to practice these is to take a euchre deck and shuffle them up. Deal 4 cards face down and keep them separated from the rest of the cards. Next, flip over cards one at a time creating pictures in your mind of the destroyed substitute words. For example, the 10 of diamonds would be crushed dice, the Queen of hearts would be a beaten queen, etc. Don’t move on to the next card until you’ve created a memorable picture in your mind. When you get to the end of the deck try to guess what the four face down cards are.

You should practice this exercise a couple of times a day until it becomes second nature. After that you will need to do it once or twice a week just to keep in practice. And you should use it during a euchre game. At the very least using a system will make you pay more attention to the cards which will automatically make you remember better.

For more information about memorizing things like cards, numbers, faces and other things check out the excellent book by Harry Lorayne, Super Power Memory.


Harvey "the Rabbit" Lapp said...

This is perhaps the most fascinating article about euchre that I have read in quite some time. I have come across only two people in my lifetime who have demonstrated a seemingly superhuman memory, and only one of them was a card player. It was quite amazing to play Spades and Bridge with this guy. He literally remembers who played each of the 52 cards, and can't be fooled by a revoke. Personally, the weakest part of my euchre game is my memory, and I would SO like to change that! Besides having difficulty remembering which side suit was played already, I am very weak at catching a renege. It's not a lack of attention span, I just don't file the information correctly. Perry, I'm going to take you up on this idea of memory association with euchre, and see how much my game improves.

Perry said...


I'd recommend getting the Lorayne book for a complete description of the memory techniques. They are pretty incredible once you learn them. They improved my card playing a lot.x

spades fan said...

what a great methoid to rember the cards! never crossed my mind to think about this way. I'm sure it will bring my spades game up a level. do you mind if i'll share this method in the spades forum i'm taking part with ?

Perry said...

No problem. Just remember to attribute it to the Euchre Universe.

thanks. Nice spades site by the way.

Viagra Online said...

so this is one of the system that is use to count cards, isn't it? I try to use one of this system with my friends, I don't know if my friends doesn't noticed, but work, very well.

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