The smart strategies at the blackjack table all require a good memory, but what if you are not sure yours is up to the task?
The best blackjack card counting books will make it clear, to even the most cursory glance at their pages, that one of the most important tools at the Blackjack table is a good memory, and if you’re ace tracking then it is even more salient to your blackjack strategy, but do you possess the powers of recall necessary?
The ability to recall numerous items of information correctly, and in order, can mean the difference between winning at blackjack and walking away with your pockets turned out, so we’re going to take a look at some different ways in which you can improve your memory and some of the tricks people use to help them remember.
It should be noted up front that no matter how bad you consider your memory at present it can almost certainly be improved with some simple exercises, by getting into some good habits and by the application a little bit of effort. In general the more you use and challenge your memory, the better it will get, but lets look at some of the tricks people use.
A mnemonic device is any learning technique that assists in the retention of information. You basically take any information you wish to recall (the order of blackjack cards for instance) and create a framework for that memory it is easier for the mind to process. These range from simple acronyms to loci or routing methods,
Amongst the smart strategies to aid recall the simplest is to associate the information you’re trying to remember with other things you find simpler to remember. There a various forms of this that range from acronyms that remind you of several words to rhymes that can bring to mind entire lists. At the core of all these is the mental imagery your mind will retain for longer.
• Use association to recall
• Images help you remember
• Memorize everything about blackjack
This doesn’t necessarily have to involve just one image, and indeed if you’re attempting to remember a list of numbers in a particular order a series of images are more likely to be necessary. Remembering a long number like 3257784692 is made much easier when we divide it into 325-778-4692, which is why we do it with phone numbers.
This chunking of information into smaller parts is a common trick, just find the chunk size you’re most comfortable with and practice dividing things up into those chunks at speed. Numbers should be broken down into other more memorable numbers. Your old address, your spouse’s birthday, your kid’s shoe size, the year something famous happened, whichever of these fits, you use them.
So in our example 32 is my wife’s age (so she says every year), 57 is ketchup, 78 is an old record speed, 46 is my brother’s age and 92 was the year the US Dream Team won gold in Barcelona. Now if I recall my wife eating ketchup, listening to an old record with my brother whilst watching basketball, that image is so bizarre that I’m unlikely to forget it, nor forget which bits of that image associate with which numbers.
Walk Around Your Mind
Loci or routing is another method of recalling a lot of information in order accurately. This is akin to association but relies not on a memorable mental image but a memory already imbedded in your mind of a route you’ve used many times. That drive to work you do every day can be the perfect assistance to your card counting strategy. Simply associate the numbers with various locations or landmarks along the route.
Obviously you may need to use imagery to associate the numbers with the locations, but with practice this becomes much easier and becomes something you can do at great speed. To recall the series of numbers one merely needs to travel the route chosen and examine the associations made, this can be done as easily with today’s shopping list as with card order in a blackjack tournament.
Of course whilst these tricks can help in particular instances to avoid losing blackjack strategies, over all your memory can be improved by following a few common sense practices. It might seem a little preachy but sleeping well, exercising properly and even having a healthy diet can all have a direct and massive effect on your memory.
Whichever method you decide to use to assist in the recall of information, little rhymes, acronyms or the imagery I mentioned above, the basic advice is to exercise your mind and memory whenever possible so that when you require it the accuracy and speed of recall will be adequate to the task. No one really has a bad memory, just one they’ve not trained enough to be useful.