Memory Champ Shares Brain Tricks

Nelson Dellis can memorize a deck of cards in 63 seconds.
6:30 | 03/24/12

Coming up in the next {{countdown}} {{countdownlbl}}

Coming up next:



Skip to this video now

Now Playing:


Related Extras
Related Videos
Video Transcript
Transcript for Memory Champ Shares Brain Tricks
In the age of Google and Syrian chances are you can't remember your boss's phone number your sister's address of the capital of anywhere. But if I ask you imagine Kim Kardashian and a -- -- hot tub with the Dali Lama. Might stick. And that is something every contestant at tomorrow's national memory championship understands the defending champ drop by yesterday. And blew my mind both what what he can do and what he can teach. You. They say dogs have a short term memory of about twenty seconds honestly minds -- Jack of spades that. -- -- -- -- It's and then got it to you. It is all the more humiliating because the guy sitting next and can memorize the order of an entire deck -- cards and 63 seconds. Just one of the skills -- makes Nelson Dallas the reigning national memory champion. And here's the most amazing part there is nothing extraordinary about his -- -- -- base through experience. You have a photographic memory naturally Nelson my memory is just average it all began when his grandmother got alzheimer's. And then he got scared. I was really kind of concern for myself. And and what that might mean for me in the future so -- searching for mental drills on the Internet he stumbled into the world of memory competition mental -- teammate again and realize that all of his belief that the athletes are also ordinary people with ordinary brains but. They've all learned in ancient but amazingly simple technique. Six -- and what you have it down he says that -- -- might be able to memorize the zip codes of a few dozen complete strangers in Times Square. About lightning -- this guy. Vote 2694. 0687. -- She was 0792802719. I remember that the -- -- The key is to associate this -- images with mundane names or numbers the more bizarre the better. So my name is Bill -- My zip code is one triple -- I would you -- that I would come up with an image for the number -- so 100. To -- is Frankenstein. And 07 news is James Bond so picture Frankenstein support our team. And how you associate that with I would stick on you have very you know news anchor hair perfect -- That's that's that's what I would be brought to. So I would picture Frankenstein kind of insider here -- -- there are certain parts and -- that's just the first. Not understand how he remembers things in sequence we strolled over to my favorite market and asked Nelson to memorize the precise order. Of one of the better your selections on the upper west side of Manhattan. After staring intently at the order of about fifty different brands -- blindfold on -- And other pills are held back. Another river horse another round of -- another whose violent Guinness draft. Flying dog this is a blue -- Yes okay. The trick is to assign an image to each branch so for Mondello -- -- -- he pictures a special sexy model about the dirty bastard -- I was some of the robber older bastard. He then places these images along a specific -- so called. Memory powerless I was actually using my high school. Back in Miami -- walking through it putting all these images along specific path and here's where the story goes beyond party -- two weeks after the memory championship and an honor of his late grandmother. This avid -- set out to conquer Mount Everest and members. Acclimated at base camp for over a month he was able to focus on his memory workouts like never before and despite the low oxygen the results amazed him. -- Times for memorizing a deck of cards went through the -- since all those numbers -- cards represent. These images of people I know having to think of those places so many thousands of miles from home and having been away for so long. That they just were so intense. After he climbed past the body of fallen mountaineer into the death zone what is oxygen -- froze 300 feet from the -- in his body wouldn't go on. He says those intense memories kept him alive. I could feel like I was in the living room. Back home in Miami -- from my family and I could feel the warmth you know smell my mom's cooking and who just like it was there it woke me up and hold me to get -- -- you know it's a shame that. People who develop alzheimer's lose those memories and if there's anything you can do. You make your -- -- stronger your memory. Stronger. Then people should be doing that. King arts was. Randall -- so point taken let's get back to -- brain rather judge in the lap dance mr. -- Bernard Madoff make and license plates Oprah Winfrey giving me Ford -- Steve. Just a few minutes after turning the face cards and the people and building a memory Paulus out of my office. The whole. King of hearts. Queen of clubs in the club's cleanup efforts Jack of hearts. -- a club soda king of spades. -- Diamonds. Queen. It's. And -- club -- club there you go back. There are up. He's changed my life you know -- -- --

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

{"id":15992210,"title":"Memory Champ Shares Brain Tricks","duration":"6:30","description":"Nelson Dellis can memorize a deck of cards in 63 seconds.","url":"/Nightline/video/memory-champ-shares-brain-tricks-15992210","section":"Nightline","mediaType":"default"}