How to Memorize: Photographic Memory

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How to Memorize a Deck of Playing Cards

Quick Notes - Memorize Deck of Cards:
  • Transform each card in the deck into an image by using the peg words in the chart below.
  • Each suits peg word starts with the first letter of the suite. Clubs = C, Hearts = H, Spades = S, and Diamonds = D.
  • Memorizing a deck of cards can take some practice, however you can use it in your tricks, poker or game hands, or even just for practice to develop your photographic memory.

In a standard deck of playing cards, there are 52 cards in total. With four suits of 13 different cards, it can seem difficult to remember only your poker hand at a quick glance:

Picture are at a party and there is a deck of cards on the table. Picking them up while gathering your crowd, you shuffle all 52 cards, then memorize half of them in just under 30-40 seconds. When finished you pass half of the cards to one friend and the other half of the deck to someone else. Without looking you can immediately recall the cards you saw, and even announce to your audience the cards that you didnt see. Magic trick? It might seem like it, however memorizing a deck of playing cards is just one of the incredible things you can do with our popular memory techniques. Along with impressing your friends at parties, you have now improved your card games and have an advantage over other players at the table.

The Secret to Memorizing a Deck of Playing Cards

You can memorize a deck of playing cards by using the peg system memorization technique. See the chart below:


AC - Cat
2C - Can
3C - Comb
4C - Car
5C - Coal
6C - Cash
7C - Cake
8C - Cave
9C - Cap
10C - Case
JC - Club
QC - Cream
KC - King

AH- Hat
2H - Hen
3H - Ham
4H - Hare
5H - Hail
6H - Hush
7H - Hog
8H - Hoof
9H - Hoop
10H - Hose
JH - Heart
QH - Queen
KH - Hinge
AS - Suit
2S - Sun
3S - Sam
4S - Sewer
5S - Sail
6S - Sash
7S - Sock
8S - Safe
9S - Soap
10S - Sauce
JS - Spade
QS - Stream
KS - Sing

AD - Dot
2D - Dune
3D - Dam
4D - Door
5D - Doll
6D - Dash
7D - Dock
8D - Dive
9D - Deb
10D - Dice
JD - Diamond
QD - Dream
KD - Drink

Notice that next to each of the cards is what's called a Peg word or a word that can be easily remembered to recall something else. For example the Ace of Clubs can not very easily be translated into an image by itself. Which is why we use the peg word "cat" which can be made into a visual image. Also note that each of the peg words for clubs start with the letter "C", the same first letter in the word "Club". Same goes for the other suites Hearts = H, Spades = S, and Diamonds = D. If you are familiar with our phonetic alphabet, you'll notice that each of the peg words are associated with their respective number.

To be able to remember a poker hand, or a number of cards, you will need to first memorize the peg word associated with each card. Then when you see that card, make a mental picture of the peg word and visualize that object on fire or freezing or disapearing from thin air. If you can picture the peg word in your head and imagine something bizarre happening to it, then you will be able to recall the cards you saw and by process of elimination, the ones you did not see.