Memory: A simple system

In my last post on memory I outlined the basics of items that should be remembered while playing out a hand. Today we’ll look at a simple system that can be used to easily retain all the essential information. If you haven’t already read the previous post it may be worth doing so for some context on why some of these items are important.

I’m not going to be talking about visualizing floating numbers or entering your mind palace. Whatever techniques you use to remember short term information should continue to be used. The focus of this post is a system to compress the amount of data that needs to be remembered in order to still be able to make useful conclusions about the state of the game.


Four of a kind bombs

Consider the hand:

As discussed last time, from looking at your starting hand you can work out which four of a kind bombs it’s possible an opponent may be holding.

In this case those values are:

  • Twos
  • Threes
  • Fours
  • Sixes
  • Eights
  • Aces

The threes are included because despite you holding the black three, the red two can be used as a three to form the bomb. Similar consideration should be taken for the red Jack if you are only holding one Jack.

At this point you should memorize this list. It’s only six values long so should be easy enough to remember. You’ve likely memorized multiple phone numbers which are almost twice as long so this should be achievable. You can also choose to drop the aces from this list as you should always be specifically counting aces anyway.

Whenever one of these cards is played, you can mentally cross that value off this list, as you know that bomb will no longer be possible.


In the previous most, I mentioned that due to the red ace introducing a random card, you should keep track of triples that your opponent may be able to create a bomb with. The standard red ace has now been updated so it it won’t create a duplicate of an existing card, but there is still value in keeping track of triples since bombs can still be created with the red queen.

It is especially important you keep track of triples if you have any in your hand. For example here you have three fives. If played right at the start, there’s a good chance someone might beat it. But you you are able to wait until higher triples have been played you can get rid of them for free if you’re able to regain the lead.

In addition to the values of which there are possible bombs, the possible triples are:

  • Sevens
  • Nines
  • Tens
  • Jacks

Again, this consists of only four values so should be easy enough to remember.

Whenever you remove an item from the list of possible bombs, it will need to be added to this list.


Similar to the above, you can also choose to track potential pairs. With the above hand you know the additional possible pairs are only:

  • Queens
  • Kings


Finally we are left with the cards where an opponent can only have a singleton:

  • Five

If the bring this all together, we have a thirteen value sequence to rememember:


From this we can work out what cards our opponents can have, or perhaps more usefully, what cards they cannot have. Keeping track of this and mentally moving values down the sequence throughout a hand can result in you being able to work out exactly what card and opponent is holding in a one on one scenario.


Similarly, you can keep track of suits. In most cases this is only important if you are holding the red eight. For this you can start by subtracting the number of each card of that suit in your hand from thirteen, or fourteen in the case of red.

So with the hand:

Green: 10
Blue: 11
Black: 11
Red: 8

Or you can choose to only remember this as a list of four values in order of the suit ranking:

10, 11, 11, 8

Whenever a card from each suit is played, just subtract that from the value for that suit.

Bringing it all together

If you combine this information with the value information you can get some incredible utility from the red eight. For example I was playing a game recently where I knew a bomb of four nines was still possible, and we’d not yet seen the blue ace. I also knew that there were only two blue cards which were unaccounted for which meant if I were to wish a blue card from my opponent the possibilities were:

  • They pass me an ace
  • They pass me a nine, breaking their bomb
  • They pass me a nine, but didn’t have a bomb as other players have the other nines
  • They had neither and pass me nothing

In this case all of these scenarios are great. Even where I don’t get passed the nine or I do but it didn’t break a bomb, I’ve now confirmed that player doesn’t have a bomb which at the time was all I needed to know in order to go out.


In summary, there is a lot of information to remember during a hand and it can seem a bit overwhelming. This is one example of a system to reduce the number of things to be remembered, but still be able to make draw complex conclusions about which cards the other players are holding.

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