Muddy Road
 
True story: I'm playing in a no-limit hold'em tournament, and it's down to three short-handed tables. We're all in the money, so at least that pressure is off, but unfortunately I have put a different sort of pressure on myself by letting it be known that I'm "that Killer Poker guy." Sometimes this is good for my image, especially in the end stages of a tournament where the fact of my having made it to the money suggests that, as a poker author and self-described maven, I'm not entirely without a clue. Still, eyes are on me, and I feel like it's incumbent upon me to play correctly, for the sake of appearances and my reputation and all. We don't have to dwell upon how nonsensical this thinking is; I've made my bed and now find myself lying in it.

The blinds are $1000 and $2000, with antes of $500. We're seven-handed at this table, so 13 500-dollar chips go in the pot before the deal. I'm in the big blind, short-stacked, with only 15 chips left after having posted the blind. It's folded around to the button, who, with plenty of chips, makes the odd bet of $5500-11 chips. The small blind folds and now it's on me. Even though I'm holding only 69 offsuit, with 24 chips in the pot I think I have to call. If I do, I'll be getting better than a 3-1 return on my seven-chip investment, and what kind of hand is my opponent likely to have here? If he's got a big pair, then I'm in serious trouble, because he'll win in the neighborhood of 85 percent of the time.
 
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