Years ago me and three of my friends used to have our own version of a Survivor betting pool.
Basically, we would wait until the second episode aired and after watching that episode, we would pick who we each thought would win the game. We waited until two episodes had aired, under the theory that by then we had some feel of the alliances and power structure. So it made the chances of all four of our pics going home right away was less likely.
We would then each put 20 dollars in a pot. As the season went on we would watch and wait, and taunt each other when our guy or girl was voted out. If one of our pics won the season, the winner of the pool would get the whole 80 dollars.
Obvious, most seasons no one would win the poll. Usually most or all of us would pickd did make the merge. But at the end of the day, it was still a one in 18-20 chance. The real reason we did it, is that we felt it added an element of excitement, giving us a genuine reason to root for someone.
Even though most of the time no one won, I did turn out to be the best at it. Not that I am bragging. (OK maybe a little.)
In the just over 10 seasons we did the pool, I was the only one to pick a winner twice. Considering the other three friends who played it only picked two winners between all three of them, I think it was a good accomplishment. I was also the one who most often had his pick make it to the final's.
For anyone wondering, my two winning picks were Amber from All-Stars, and Danni from Guatamala. There was a reason I was so good at picking someone who would go far, however.
It isn't an accident my two winning pics were women. I noticed early on that a LOT of winners of Survivor back when they went to the final 2, were younger girls who would play a low key game, and then win over someone who made more enemies.
Yes, I kind of got lucky with Danni, as she went to the end with Stephanie. But the idea was sound. Even when that strategy didn't win, it was a good way to make it to the end. As the goats always hoped taking someone who was semi-useless would help them in the end. It almost never did.
Once they went to the final 3, that theory went out the window. The "under the radar" strategy, especially with pretty girls, was still a good way to make it to the end. But with three players, it also meant if the jury hated someone in the end, they usually had a better second choice to argue played a good game. And make it look like they weren't simply voting against someone out of spite, rather then the best winner. Even if they were usually just fooling themselves.
As such, I have gotten MUCH worse at picking a winner. I have to make actual educated guesses now. Not as easy as figuring out the least threatening pretty girl.
My friends and I have stopped playing the pool as we don't see each other as often these days. But I still like to try and pick a winner after the second episode, just to see if I could have been 60 bucks richer. I have failed every time since we stopped playing, but I always try.
So for old times sake, here is my pick for who I think will win this season of Survivor.
It was a hard one. No one really stands out as the future winner. I was tempted to just pick Coach and Ozzy. Since coming back for a third time is showing to be experience that is hard to beat. But I will be less predictable.
Although the alliance of Coach, Brandon, Sophie, Albert and Rick seemed to be in a good position, I think Brandon's crap last episode will probably lead to a lot of fallout. Which will either split the alliance, or cause so much tension in Upolu that they will not make it to the merge with numbers.
So as it stands right now, I don't see the winner coming from Upolu. If they do, it will be because they were able to find a weakness in the Savaii tribe and exploit it post merge. So barring a tribal swap, I think the winner will be someone on Savaii.
With that, my pick for the winner of Survivor: South Pacific is Keith.
Keith, despite his pacemaker that has yet to be mentioned on the show, is clearly a physical asset, but not so much as to over shadow players like Ozzy and Albert. I think he has the kind of likable, understated personality that will take him far.
Despite Jim's arrogantly taking credit for forming the five person alliance. The alliance of Jim, Ozzy, Keith, Whitney and Elyse are a solid alliance that could go far. Especially with Ozzy having the immunity idol.
Once in the Merge, Kieth seems like he would have the potential to go far in the game. What, with his ability to get along with people and the fact he should be good at challenges. I think he is the right balance of likable and skill, making him a good player to make it to the end, and possibly win it all.
Of course, we haven't heard that Elyse and Whitney are on board. For all we know Elysi will develop a "Beauty and the Geek" showmance with Cochran and the girls will ally with the weaker three. Hey, stranger things have happened... OK maybe not, but you never know.
So assuming I am reading things right, and no big twist or Redemption Island returnee changes the game. I think Kieth is the man to beat.
I may be completely wrong, as I usually am. But as of right now, I am calling it that Keith will take home the million. Keep watching Survivor and reading my blog to find out how horribly wrong I am.