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“I’m Always Playing for First Place” – An Interview with Survivor: China’s Jean-Robertby David Bloomberg -- 11/09/2007
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Jean-Robert is a “bad boy” of poker, and he brought a similar game toSurvivor. How does he think that worked? Would he have changed anything? What did he think about what he saw on TV that he didn’t know about while he was there? Read on to find out about all this and much more!
RealityNewsOnline: Hello, Jean-Robert, and thanks for taking the time to talk to RealityNewsOnline! Starting at the beginning, what was your strategy coming into the game?
Jean-Robert: My strategy coming into the game was basically to be kind of lazy and disliked and just kind of creep up on people as we go – become more likable as we go in the show and to try to get more popular as we go. At the beginning, I wanted to be the bad guy, disliked, and be a bit lazy. That way people would really appreicate any effort that I did later on.
RNO: How did that strategy change – or did it change at all – once you got into the game?
Jean-Robert: That strategy was the one I used and it held up. The key for me at the beginning for not getting voted out was being effective in the challenges. That way, even if I was disliked, they would want to keep me around. It was a little risky at first, but I figured I could always lobby my way out. I was on a strong team and we did win most of the challenges early on.
RNO: You said in your final words that you loved the way you played. Do you still feel the same way?
Jean-Robert: I do. When I’m playing the game, I have to assume everyone else that’s playing is playing in the optimal way for them. When I got voted out, James was the most dangerous person on the show. He was the strongest guy and the favorite to win the challenges coming up. In addition to that, he had two immunity idols. And add to that he’s one of the most popular guys on the show. If he makes it to the final two or three, he’s probably going to win the vote.
With that information, the key would be to get rid of him right then. So for me, making that move at this stage was the optimal move for not just myself but everybody else. Watching the show last night, I was like, “Man, if I just didn’t tell Todd about that plan, it would have been fine.” That was something Todd wanted to do as well. Even watching the show, I realized that was the best move for Todd. In my opinion, he made a mistake for not jumping on that opportunity.
RNO: If you had made it past this vote, what would your endgame strategy have been?
Jean-Robert: Up until this point, everything for me was working according to plan. I was becoming a little more… I wouldn’t say liked, but a little more accepted. My character was a little more likeable at this point. People weren’t badmouthing me as much as before. Even Courtney kind of piped down a little bit because she and I weren’t at each other’s throats the last few days.
My next bit would have been to try and win individual immunity challenges and to get rid of the former members of the Zhan Hu tribe and play down to Denise, Amanda, Todd, and myself as the final four. That was my plan. Everything was going in that direction. I liked my plan, I wouldn’t change it.
RNO: Why did you think the “bad boy” strategy would work on Survivor?
Jean-Robert: As the bad boy, I would be somebody who would be kind of talked about and kind of hated early on. But if I could make it – if I didn’t get knocked out those first two or three Tribal Councils – after that, when I start kicking in and really helping around camp and becoming a little more likeable, my value can only go up. Initially, if I’m not doing much and I’m disliked and I’m the person they’re talking about early on, if I screw up or do anything bad later, it’s only what’s expected. If I all of a sudden start kicking in and start getting fish and cooking, all of a sudden I’m the one kicking butt, I can only go up. Nothing I can do would be wrong.
RNO: To use a poker tournament comparison, would it be correct to say you were going for the win, which meant taking risks early?
Jean-Robert: I was absolutely going for first place. In tournaments, a lot of times players will play to make the money or the final table or the TV table. I’m always playing for first place. In poker tournaments, there’s a huge difference between first place and second – Survivor too. A hundred thousand dollars is not going to be life-changing for me, but a million is.
The move to get rid of James, who was somebody I liked a lot, by the way, was a risky move. If he had found out that’s what I wanted to do, I was building myself an enemy even if we both survived Tribal Council. That was a risky move, but I thought it was necessary because if he makes the final three or four, in my opinion, he’s going to get the votes for the win – I know I’d vote for him!
I thought the guy played a great game, he was the most helpful around camp, he kicked butt in challenges, he’s pretty likeable. At this point, I definitely saw my vote going his way and pretty much everybody else’s too. Getting rid of him was the best move for me and others at this point.
I really did think he was going home that night. I put on a performance that Erik or Peih-Gee was going home. I didn’t want James to have any suspicion that his name might be on the chopping block and make sure he didn’t pull out one of those hidden immunity idols. I knew he might take that risk because from here out, if he has two idols and wins a couple challenges, he might just assure himself of never being in jeopardy at all until the final two or three.1 2 Next-->
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