Here’s my take on what’s going on with these hands:
- There’s two flops for two hands. For each hand, one of those flops is going to be better than the other. The odds that the flop at your table will be better for your hole cards than the flop at the other table are 50-50, if we do not factor card elimination.
- If we did factor in card elimination, the odds of the other table being better for your hole cards go slightly up, because we can draw pairs from the other table with cards that are already in our hand at our table.
You’ll notice for example that on the pocket 88s hand, one of the 88s at the other table’s board was the 8 of Clubs, and one of my hole cards on the opposite table was also the 8 of Clubs. So if I could have mix-matched my table, the “quad 8888s” is really not possible, since there’s a duplicate card. It creates an appearance of a monster hand that wouldn’t be legal if I could have showed it. Still, even if we eliminated that redundant 8c, making a set of 888s is still a pretty great hand. But if you don’t pay attention closely to suits, which is easy to do when you’re busy trying to actually play each table, it can create the false impression of a very strong hand “if only”.
- The wrong table’s board being “better” is a pretty good probability, but “better” boards for your hand is one thing, seeing an absolute monster nut hand like the flopped boat, straight, and quads, is something else, and should be rare. The odds of one or the other hand flopping (or running out with the whole board drawn) some monster hand at the wrong table are still not amazing. If you have a 1-in-113 chance of making a flush with a suited hand, which I hope I’m remembering rightly, now you’ve got a 2-in-113 hand if you’re looking over at the other table as well. Well, maybe slightly higher than 2-in-113, since the two suited cards in your hole at Table A are still “out there” at Table B. So doubling your chances of seeing some cards you have hit for trips, a straight, a flush, a boat, or quads – a hand that would definitely stand out in your memory – is not insignificant, but it’s still relatively small probability. And since they’re doubled for each hand you’re playing, it’s really a 4x increase that one of the two hands will end up making something pretty good at one of the tables, and slightly better than half of the time it’ll be at the wrong table for you to make a big score with.
That said, clusters of small probability events can and do happen, and are expected to happen through randomness. If you’re a human being, your mind is predisposed to pick up on clusters like this, and without properly understanding the nature of randomness, people are susceptible to ascribing “mystical” or “supernatural” explanations to these things, or accusations of something not being right with the way the cards are being dealt. If you happened to be going through a bit of a dry spell on both tables, unable to make pairs, but notice that you’re hitting “pairs” with a high frequency with the board cards from the other table, and then you see a wrong-table monster pop up, then the impression a human mind is prone to take from witnessing this is bound to be vexing, eg “How is all my luck on the wrong table!?” Well, the grass is greener, isn’t it.
I’m not sure how long I was playing both tables simultaneously in the session I picked for this example, I played a fairly long session at each table, but the overlap when I was playing multi-table was relatively short – perhaps a few dozen hands at most. Regrettably I don’t have an easy way to go through my history to count them. But let’s say it was 30 hands. If in that time I could find 3 such hands, that’s not a huge number, and could (and obviously, I’m not making accusations of anything, is) well within the realm of chance. That’s 1-in-10, which is pretty high for seeing monsters, but occasionally you get hot and see a cluster of 5-card hands made for you even when playing a single table.
Even if the three monstrous hands happened within a span of, say, 5 or 10 hands, or nearly back-to-back-to-back, that’s simply a random clustering of the data points in a sample, and their overall frequency of appearance over the entire sample is still reasonably in line with expected probability.
At least, that’s what I think. But I don’t really know what the expected probability is. And that makes me wonder. And I don’t like when I don’t know the answer to something and can’t figure it out. So that’s why I’m asking.