How to memorize a randomized deck of playing cards

Q: Why is it so hard to remember the name of someone you've just met? A: Because our memories evolved to be associative, and the name of a person doesn't have much of an association with who they are. Mind Hacks offers a way to help you remember names by inventing false associations. The sillier or weirder the association, the better.

I've been using a similar method to help me remember the order of a shuffled deck of cards. My goal is to be able to hand someone a deck of cards, ask them to shuffle it and return it to me. I will then spend a minute or two going through the deck, looking at each card. Then I will hand the deck back to the person and ask them to look at the cards while I call them out one-by-one.

I'm using a memorization method from an e-book called How to Learn & Memorize a Randomized Deck of Playing Cards Using a Memory Palace and Image-Association System Specifically Designed for Card Memorization Mastery by Anthony Metivier. I've been practicing for about 4 days (10-15 minutes a day) and I can remember the mnemonically-derived "names" of 26 cards so far. For example, the 2 of Spades is "tin can." The King of Hearts is "ram." The 9 of Spades is "tape."

To help me memorize the names of the cards, I'm using a free cross-platform flashcard app called AnkiApp. It keeps track of the cards that you easily remember, and focuses on the ones you have difficulty remembering. Gary Wolf wrote a great article in 2008 for Wired about this memorization technique.

Once I can easily recall the names of all 52 cards, I will go to the next step: shuffling the deck and putting the cards into a 52-slot "memory palace." My memory palace is made of four cars I've owned. Slot 1 is the driver side headlight of my first car, a 1947 Willys Jeep. Slot 2 is the passenger side headlight. Slot 3 is the hood. I work my way back to the tailpipe, which is slot 13. Slot 14 is the driver side headlight of my second car, a 1965 Jeep with a Chevy small block V8 engine (it overheated like crazy). The idea is to shuffle the deck, look at the first card, recall the card's name, and stick it in that slot. For example, if the first card in the deck is the 2 of Spades I will visualize the driver side headlight of the Willys as a tin can. If the second card is the King of Hearts, I will put the ram in the passenger side headlight and imagine the ram trying to reach over and eat the tin can. And so on.

It's going to take me a while to get good at this.