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#1
Old 11-24-2002, 03:56 PM
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How do card players remember which cards have been played?

Possibly IMHO, but I've recently become interested in the game of Bridge, in which having the ability to remember which cards have been played is a great advantage (as it is in most card games). So I've been reading "Teach Yourself Bridge" books, and at a certain point they all say something along the lines of "Of course, you really need to remember which cards have been played", as if this was something that anyone could do. But to me it seems like a prodigous, nay impossible feat of memory.

So, is this just something that some people can do and some people can't, or is there some trick to it?
(No pun intended, in case you noticed)
#2
Old 11-24-2002, 04:22 PM
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They do it with mirrors.

Seriously, I play a lot of cards, and I can't say there's a trick(sic!) to it. I just remember. Maybe it comes from practise and experience: I find it easier remembering cards, the older I get. For myself, I can only answer that there's no mnemonic involved.
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#3
Old 11-24-2002, 04:42 PM
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There are tricks to counting specific cards. For example, if you're playing blackjack and want to remember how many aces have been dealt, you can just reposition your foot each time one comes out (right for one, left for two, up for three, whatever). You can do this with other appendages for other cards as well and it can help a bit. Though I wouldn't get caught doing it in Vegas if I were you. They kind of frown on card counting.
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Old 11-24-2002, 04:55 PM
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I can do it up to a point. I play spades and can keep track of cards 10 and up of all suits. I don't find it hard and while I can't explain exactly how I do it, I do know that I do it by remembering what's been played in relationship to what's in my hand and that it helps if I always arrange my hand in a certain order. (So I don't throw a king or queen out until I know the Ace has played if I counted the king and/or queen towards my bid.) I try to remember the spades below ten too since they are trump, but often as not, I've lost track of one or I thought it was the two that was still out and it turns out it was the eight.

It may have been negative conditioning as well. As a child I remember my older brother and uncle fiercely pinching me if I played a card that the higher card hadn't yet been played. It's a wonder I still enjoy the game.
#5
Old 11-24-2002, 05:07 PM
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Short answer: be selective.

For a lot of games, you just have to remember a few cards. If you have the A & Q of hearts, the K of spades, and the J of clubs, you just need to look out for the K of hearts and the A of spades, and to count how many clubs above the J have been played. For trump you might want to count all of them, but you can just count the total number that have been played & how many out there are higher than your highest one (and/or your second highest, third highest, etc.). You also might want to count how many times each suit has been played, so you know if you're likely to get trumped on it - but that's usually connected with what high cards have been played. With a little practice, it's not too bad.

Of course, with practice you can usually learn to count more, and to figure out which other cards are important to count, what other people are likely to have based on what they played, etc. But for starters, you just need to count the important ones - the ones that are higher than your high ones.
#6
Old 11-24-2002, 05:59 PM
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My Spades partner is amazing, and is capable of just what Abby has described. IShe has the patience of Job.

t's a wonder I'm still allowed to sit at the table with her, I'm such an atrocious player.

But boy do I like to play anyway.

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#7
Old 11-24-2002, 06:49 PM
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Re: How do card players remember which cards have been played?

Quote:
Originally posted by Usram
Possibly IMHO, but I've recently become interested in the game of Bridge, in which having the ability to remember which cards have been played is a great advantage (as it is in most card games). So I've been reading "Teach Yourself Bridge" books, and at a certain point they all say something along the lines of "Of course, you really need to remember which cards have been played", as if this was something that anyone could do. But to me it seems like a prodigous, nay impossible feat of memory.

So, is this just something that some people can do and some people can't, or is there some trick to it?
It's not a trick ( ), and most people can learn to do it.

It requires practice, and is made slightly easier by focusing on what you need to remember.
As knock knock says, certain high cards (higher than the ones you hold) will matter more, plus trumps, plus any long suit you hope to establish.

Counting trumps is easier if you go in 'fours'.
Assume you are declarer, and have the Ace and King of trumps.
You lead the Ace and all follow. That means 4 trumps have gone.
You lead the King and all follow. That means 8 trumps have gone.
Subtract the number you and dummy have left from 5 (obtained from 13-8) and that's how many trumps are left.
(If when you led the King one opponent showed out, then 7 trumps have gone.)

For practice, try playing a lot!
Start on trumps only (high cards and length), then gradually try for your best suit outside trumps, then all 4 suits.

You will eventually pick up all combinations of 4 integers summing to 13 (not deliberately - it'll just happen) i.e. 4-3-3-3; 4-4-3-2; 4-4-4-1; 5-4-2-2 etc.
This is a real help in checking your calculations.

I can suggest some other stuff if you want.

Incidentally, blindfold chess has to be seen to be believed.
Bridge memory is restricted to what's gone.
Blindfold chess players have to cope with 32 pieces moving over 64 squares - and try to analyse ahead before 'returning' their memory to the current position.
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