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In what has been a tumultuous two days, poker professional Vanessa Rousso has put herself in position to be under consideration for the $500,000 first prize on the CBS reality show Big Brother. After fighting her way into the final three, Rousso now has the potential to make the final two. Come next week, Rousso may be one of the people who is considered by a Jury vote for the victory in the competition.

After winning the Head of Household on last Thursday’s episode, Rousso knew that there were plenty of issues that she still faced. Situated between two partnerships – the “showmance” between Austin and Liz and the “bromance” between Steve and John – Rousso had to tread lightly in making decisions as the HoH. After interviewing all the contestants, Rousso would decide to put up John and Steve for elimination.

The Power of Veto competition would prove to be pivotal, however. John, who was the target of Rousso for elimination, emerged as the victor of the PoV competition and used that power to remove himself from the elimination seat. Now faced with putting up one of the members of her “Sixth Sense” alliance, Rousso decided that Austin would allow her the best chance to look like she was putting up a strong opponent but in reality target Steve for elimination. Thus, Austin went on the block as the Big Brother household headed to a special elimination on Tuesday night.

Sometime between the Sunday episode and the Tuesday elimination, Rousso would switch her allegiance from Austin to Steve, breaking up the “showmance” that had probably lasted longer than many thought it would. Rousso’s logic was that Austin presented more of a challenge in competitions (especially the more physical ones) and that, if Rousso went to the final three with both Austin and Liz, she would be the “odd man out” (and a final three of her, Liz and either Steve or John was much more preferable). Thus, after John used his vote on Steve and Liz used hers on Austin, Rousso broke the tie by stunningly sending Austin out of the house.

Now down to four – Steve, John, Liz and herself – Rousso was in a tough position. Barred from competing for the next HoH (and earning an automatic spot in the final three), Rousso had to watch as Steve took over from her and nominated John and Rousso for elimination. Only one other person would be guaranteed a seat in the final three – the winner of the PoV – and Rousso, needing to pull herself off the block, won the PoV and guaranteed her slot in the final three. With John and now Liz on the elimination table, Rousso decided to split the “bromance” this time by knocking off John, setting up an intriguing three person battle for the coming week.

With three people remaining, Rousso now had to punch the ticket for the final two. In what turned out to be a marathon of a physical challenge – hanging on a rope swing, being dunked in some red goo that didn’t look particularly enjoyable and slammed repeatedly into a foam rubber wall – Rousso first watched as Steve fell to his demise and then was able to convince Liz to fall from her swing willingly. Some of the more vocal fans have insinuated that Rousso might have offered Liz something for her giving up (a trip to the final two, perhaps?), but it is unknown if this was the case.

It is a difficult choice for who would be the better opponent for Rousso in the final two. Although she has been partners of some sort with Liz since pretty much the start of the show, Rousso knows that if she were to take Liz to the final two with her, Liz would have two votes automatically from Austin and her twin, Julia. With six other members in the Jury (Becky, Jackie, James, John, Meg and Shelli round out that field), Liz would only have to garner three more votes to take the $500,000 prize from Rousso. The situation doesn’t get any easier with Steve, however, as he has probably three solid votes with James, Meg and John (and “solid votes” indicates voting on friendship and previous alliance rather than who played the best game) and would only need two more (Austin and Julia with a payback?) to turn against Rousso to take the bounty.

Over the next week, it will be revealed who will be the one to head to the final two with Rousso. There will be a broadcast on Sunday night (8PM Eastern Time), but it probably won’t be until the 90-minute season finale on Wednesday night that we actually learn who will join Rousso in the final two. Then it is up to a vote of the Jury to determine whether Rousso will be rewarded with $500,000 for playing an outstanding game or whether alliances and friendships will be the final determinant.

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