So, several have said, you are getting 4 to 1 on your money
. Unfortunately that isn't entirely accurate. You are getting 4 to 1 on your chips
The important note is that by folding you get to watch what you estimated as either a sure loss by the short stack or a coin flip between the short stack and the button.
So just for instance, let's say you do manage to triple up. You still have less than 20bb, and that is ignoring the ante. Doubling or tripling up doesn't actually gain you that much. We will be generous and assume you were 50% to win. The possible results of calling are 50% you are out in 6th and 50% you triple up and the other short stack might be knocked out, but only if the button's hand beats his.
Just for the sake of this argument, we will use Full Tilt's payout structure that pays 7 places:
So, using these numbers, and the assumption that you would win 50% if you called and the button would win 50% if you folded, the expected values
of each play is as follows. In addition the odds of you being able to make it up another place in each situation must be estimated. For the sake of simplicity, lets say that your odds of increasing another place should you fold are 20% if the SB wins and 10% if the BTN wins, and in the case that you call and win and the BTN beats SB, 35% to move up to 4th, and if you call and win and the BTN loses to the SB, 80% to make 5th and 40% to make 4th after that.
Fold: (0.5 BTN wins * (2% of the Prize pool + (0.10 * 3% of the prize pool) ) + ( 0.5 SB wins * 0.20 * 2% of the prize pool) = EV 1.35% of the prize pool
Call: (0.5 Win * ((0.5 BTN beats SB * (2% of the prize pool + (0.35 making it to 4th* 3% of the prize pool))) + ( 0.5 SB beats BTN * (0.8 make it to 5th * (2% of the prize pool + (0.4 make it to 4th * 3% of the prize pool) )))) = EV 1.4 % of the prize pool
....hmm... ok, looks like I proved myself wrong with the analysis according to those assumptions. I still think the right play was to fold.... because for instance, if you could put the BTN as a 70% favorite to win, then the EV of folding moves up to 1.81% wheras the EV of calling only increases to 1.45%
So, obviously it depends on what you can put your opponents on....just like everything else in poker