Multi-Level Poker-Like thinking on Survivor Part 2

Back to Survivor where we were breaking down the gameplay and logic behind this weeks moves. Very similar to poker where two players who have a lot of experience vs each other and a bet sometimes isn't what it's meant to represent, and sometimes it is. This multi-leveling of thinking plays out on Survivor as though it is poker strategy reality TV.

Russell told Tyson that he had capitulated and he was going to vote for one of his allies just to survive another week. This appealed to Tyson because their team won a challenge and as reward they'd get to eat hotdogs and watch the other teams elimination discussion. Tyson said he'd consider voting for Russell's ally just to skip the whole revote and get the evening over with--which borders on being so stupid as a viewer you almost didn't believe it.

The producers of survivor have a great ability to always present a player as arrogant or prideful right before they get blindsided. Tyson has always been one of the most arrogant players but this time, helping to confuse savvy viewers they should very little of that arrogance--which made the swerve even better.

From the viewers perspective (and even Tyson's perspective), Russell's talk with Tyson made some sense. If he voted for his ally, he could possibly get away with not playing the idol and keep it another week (thus the votes would be 4 for his ally, 3 for him and 2 for one of Boston Rob's team). From a perspective of self-preservation this would make sense, it would insure Russell another week at the minimum, and likely two if he had the balls to not play the idol, and give him a chance of making it to the merge where anything could happen (maybe even with the idol).

However there was the risk if Tyson reported that back to Boston Rob, the team would just vote 4-2 for Russell. But there's the problem. If Russell is lying about his intentions, then the vote would be 4 votes for Russell (he plays the idol), 3 votes for one of Boston Rob's allys (Boston Rob won immunity and that's why it's not Boston Rob), and 2 votes for Russell's ally. Thus, Boston Rob's team loses a member.

It gets really tricky there. The conclusion you reach is the safest thing for the Boston Rob team is to vote 3 and 3. Worst case is Russell votes for his girl and doesn't play the idol and survives. But there is no chance they'd lose an ally.

In the other situation, they risk losing an ally if Russell is lying.

Shocker, Russell was lying. Shocker still Tyson didn't have the strategy talk with Boston Rob, he just went rogue and voted on his own. And Russell survived because he gave the idol to his ally. Tyson also voted for Russell's ally making the votes a 4-2 split. She got immunity. Russell and his two allies voted for... Tyson. With three votes he was eliminated.

Boston Rob was seething. He had said to Russell "You aren't playing with the amateurs any more, watch your back," earlier in the episode (the moment of pride going before a fall that I had missed to some degree) especially when Russell rebutted "You watch your back."

The interesting aspect of this maneuver by Russell, who tried to curry votes from one of Boston Rob's allies the moment he did it by claiming he was doing it because he had integrity and honesty and loyalty to his teammate (all traits the cartoon character of a person Coach says he personifies), is that he might have been better served by not playing the idol and trying to somehow gut it out to the merge.

With five players left in Boston Rob's group, if Russell can't swing Coach to his side, Russell is done. Course Russell is banking on a couple of things. One he'll find the next idol, just as he did last season with every single idol, and if he has it, his group has the edge in numbers because Boston Rob's group can't split votes. Two, the villains have won almost every challenge. Most likely they won't have to vote somebody off and if they do it might not be until the merge, or it might be in enough time for Russell to swing a vote his way.

The other players have to realise that Rob is an obstacle to them winning the million dollars. As strongly as there are aligned with him at some point they have to cut the throat of the king if they are going to win. At some point they will have to blindside him, and it's better to do it before they get to the individual challenges where Rob will have a chance to win immunity on any given week.

Round one goes to Russell the Houston native who sounds like he's from Western Louisiana. We'll see next week if Boston Rob can't get the edge in round two.

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