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The atmosphere in the Big Brother 17 house has been extremely tense over the past few days, as professional poker player Vanessa Rousso remains in contention for the $500,000 first place prize. Sunday night’s telecast was delayed by half an hour due to the PGA Championship (congratulations Jason Day), but once Big Brother aired, fans were treated to more twists and turns.

Sunday’s show began on the tail-end of a Double Eviction which saw professional dancer Jackie Ibarra exit the house (by a vote of 6-1) after being nominated by 22 year old student Steve Moses of New York. The eviction left only nine houseguests — meaning that winning this week’s Head of Household competition would be more important than ever.

After a Big Brother Photo Shoot, identical twin Liz claimed Head of Household Sunday night — placing the show’s last-standing power duo in the driver’s seat for this week. Since it was Rousso’s actions that ultimately secured a place for Liz and her sister Julia in the BB Household, many fans would think that Lady Maverick is in a great position this week. However, the Big Brother Live Feeds show the two constantly discussing their doubts about keeping the $3.5 million live poker tournament winner as an ally. Sunday night’s telecast showed Liz stating that she is “sick to [her] stomach” with the rumors she heard about Rousso’s tactics.

Using her HOH privileges, Liz nominated Scranton, Pennsylvania dentist John McGuire and Becky Burgess of Denver, Colorado for eviction this week. If those nominations stay the same at the conclusion of Wednesday night’s Power of Veto competition, then the twins will effectively control 25% of the entire household with lapdog Austin almost certainly in their corner.

The surviving Big Brother 17 contestants have now lodged in the House for 60 days.

Vanessa Rousso Big Brother Power Moves

Rousso, a 32 year old Las Vegas resident was able to pull off yet another coup by persuading fellow competitors James, Austin, Liz and Julia, Jackie and Meg to oust Shelli Poole from the competition last week. Ultimately, the house vote was agreed upon by all and the second half of Big Brother 17’s all-star “showmance” was booted out and placed on the Jury with Jackie… for now.

Surviving an eviction heads-up via a unanimous vote in her favor is extremely impressive to any Big Brother fan, especially considering that many in the household have become more suspicious of Vanessa’s “game.” Throughout the competition, Rousso has effectively utilized her emotions, logic and manipulation skills to pave the way to her Week 8 survival.

Her Big Brother performance will be further tested in upcoming weeks as the power is now clearly in the hands of the identical twins whom she helped bring into the house.

Vanessa Rousso’s Chances of Winning Big Brother 17

Now that the Double Eviction has run its course and Week 8 is underway, there are only nine players remaining in Big Brother 17, although this could change if a formerly-evicted houseguest is invited back.

Big Brother 17 Week 7 Contestants

Rousso is without a doubt one of the strongest personalities left in the competition, but her shaky alliance with identical twins Liz and Julia will be put to the test as the houseguests aim to evict at least one member of that seemingly unbreakable team. Liz’s status as HOH may have delayed this inevitability for another week, but sooner or later Rousso will need to set her sights on evicting one of the twins.

Vanessa’s toughest competition at this point could be the twins and 31 year old James Huling of Wichita Falls, Texas, who has shown himself to be a worthy opponent in Big Brother HOH and POV competitions while not being afraid to follow through with his convictions.

Both Steve Moses and John McGuire are quickly becoming fan favorites and can be seen as “dark horses” to win Big Brother 17, while professional wrestler Austin Matelson, Becky Burgess, and Meg Maley have yet to reveal themselves as front-runners in this humble fan’s opinion.

Big Brother 17 returns Wednesday,  August 19, at 8:00pm ET on CBS.

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David Huber

David Huber has been involved in the poker industry for more than a decade: initially as a professional online poker player and later as an editor, consultant, writer, and forum manager. Known as "dhubermex" online, David's poker-related work has been heavily published across numerous websites since 2004.