Poker Player Vanessa Rousso Makes the Final of CBS’s Big Brother 17

Poker professional Vanessa Rousso has made it to the final of “Big Brother 17”. To make the finals of the popular reality TV show on CBS, she had to make the final three competitors.

The last person standing in the Survivor-style format wins $500,000, while the runner-up wins $50,000. Instead of living on a tropical island, random strangers instead live inside a house while cameras film them 24/7. Like Survivor, members of the cast must face challenges to win immunity. If not, they face a vote which would put them out of the house.

Big Brother 17 Broadcasts

Rousso made the finals on the Wednesday night broadcast. The next broadcast is on Sunday night, followed by a 90-minute season finale on Wednesday, September 23. Moviefone, which measures call-in voters, has Vanessa Rousso as the favorite to win the show at this point.

While the $500k winning prize would be a nice score for Vanessa Rousso, it would not be the biggest prize she’s won. Over the past 10 years, the 32-year old poker player has won $4.5 million in tournament winnings. In fact, the $500 thousand in prize money would be the third-largest jackpot Rousso has won.

How Poker Translates to Survival Games

The poker lifestyle might have prepared her for Big Brother 17. Poker not only requires players to use strategy to best their opponents, but it has a significant social element. Players must read their opponents’ intentions, while also masking their own intent. The best poker players are masters of charm and intimidation, while sensing traps set by their opponents.

Twitter followers suggest that Vanessa Rousso is one of the best players in the history of the show. She was given the ability to send a person off when only 5 were left and chose to send Austin. While Austin told her she doesn’t have any jury votes, most fans believed the blindside would win her votes from those offended by Austin’s antics.

The Jury of Seven

At the end of the show, the last seven contestants sent off represent the jury which votes on who wins. Thus, a player who has offended too many people or the wrong sort of people end up losing in the final vote.

Big Brother therefore requires people to plot with fellow contestants, but at the same time against them. They also must avoid being seen as too much of a danger (too loyal) or at too much of a weasel (not loyal enough). While it might seem like a ridiculous reality show to an outsider, game theorists would find Big Brother to be a challenging study, because of the shifting dynamics of the game’s many challenges.

About Vanessa Rousso

Vanessa Rousso has been a professional poker player since 2005 and ranks among the Top 5 female poker players in career winnings. She was a member of Team PokerStars from 2006 until 2015 under the online username “Lady Maverick”. Over the years, she has been a spokesperson for Rousso has finished in the money at the World Series of Poker seventeen times. At the 2007 World Championship of Online Poker Main Event, she finished in second place and won $700,000.

Education and Playing Career

Vanessa Rousso graduated from Duke University in 2 and 1/2 years with a Major in psychology and a Minor in political science. She has studied game theory, which she has incorporated into her poker style and the Big Brother competition. She began law school in 2004 at the University of Miami, and was the inaugural recipient of the Chaplan Scholarship. During that year at law school, Rousso served on the University of Miami Law Review.

During that time, she was also studying poker. By 2005, she had won several times at the Hard Rock sit-n-go tournaments. She parlayed a $1,500 entry fee into an Atlantic City tournament into $17,000 in winnings, which allowed her to pay for a trip to a World Poker Tour event in 2005 at the Bellagio in Las Vegas. Since then, the has appeared in numerous WPT events on the Travel Channel, along with WSOP broadcasts on ESPN. Born to a French father and an American mother, he is a dual citizen of the United States and France.

About Cliff Spiller

Cliff Spiller has been an online writer for 14 years. He worked for Small World Marketing for a decade, where he covered topics like gaming, sports, movies, and how-to guides. Since 2014, he has blogged about US and international gambling news on,, and

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