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Nearly two months ago, we learned that multi-talented professional poker player Vanessa Rousso had been cast as a “houseguest” for the 17th season of Big Brother. The 32-year-old New York native who now resides in Las Vegas has made over $3.5 million in live tournament cashes since 2005, and has so far parlayed her skills into a dominant Big Brother performance.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with the reality show that boasts more hashtags than you could possibly fit into a single TweetBig Brother is a 98-day, weekly elimination contest in which houseguests compete to be the last person remainng. The eventual winner this season will be awarded $500,000.

The CBS reality show hosted by Julie Chen has a prime time slot on Sundays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. The next episode will air August 5 at 8:00pm ET.

Vanessa Rousso’s Weekly Performance on Big Brother 17

Rousso’s Twitter account has achieved additional exposure since her arrival at the Big Brother house. One fan Tweet by BigBrotherJunkie has been Favorited over 200 times with nearly 100 Re-Tweets.

Vanessa Rousso Big Brother images

Follow Vanessa Rousso on Twitter: @VanessaRousso

Week #1

Entering the Big Brother house for the first time, “Vanessa” (as referred to by her Big Brother fans) had a critical decision to make. Volunteering to sit out of the Head of Household [ #hoh ] competition could have placed the former EPT Monte Carlo High Roller champion on the fast track to an early elimination. Instead, Rousso’s gamble paid off as she received a BB Fast Forward, meaning that she was safe from eviction for the first week.

Rousso struck an initial Big Brother friendship with 6’5″ professional wrestler Austin, whose self-donned nickname of Judas should probably be changed to The Great Pretender as a result of his unrequited #showmance with starting twin Liz.

Vanessa quickly utilized her poker skills to gain more complete information and use that information to her advantage during Week #1.

Week #2

The second week of Big Brother 17 was more of an information gathering project for Rousso, as she became more friendly with Clay and Shelli, who were quickly becoming a couple.

Vanessa was never in any real danger of being nominated, nor was she deeply involved in the inner workings of that week’s household politics.

Week #3

Rousso earned one of two Head of Household positions to begin the week, and shared that privilege with best friend Austin. The two formed an even stronger friendship bond during their time, and here is where “Lady Maverick” began to work her magic.

Rousso openly stated to her trusted allies that she was gunning for an eviction of fellow competitors Jeff and James. She hatched a plan to outwardly appear that she had Audrey in her sights, but at the last moment publicly confronted Jeff to justify her eventual nomination of him.

With all the moving parts that revolve around any Big Brother season, it is amazing that Rousso was able to get her two primary targets on the block. Jeff was evicted by a vote of 7 to 4, ending an extremely impressive week for Vanessa.

It is also worth noting that Week #3 represented the first houseguest confirmation that Liz was indeed swapping places with her twin sister Julia [ #twintwist ] every three days — unbeknownst to others. Rousso was the first to extract this information and decided to include the twins in a strategic alliance/

Week #4

The major events of Week #4 revolved around transgender contestant Audrey, who was caught in a lie by houseguests who had previously worked to protect her from eviction. Rousso was part of a near unanimous vote to evict Audrey.

Week #5

This was the toughest week for Vanessa so far in the Big Brother 17 competition. After in-house best friend Austin spilled the beans to a person outside of the “Sixth Sense” alliance about Liz having a twin named Julia, “The Pokerness” was visibly shaken by potentially having to backdoor her wrestling buddy and placing him on the block to be evicted

Earning her second Head of Household position — this time alongside Jackie — Rousso originally planned to manipulate events to ensure that Austin would be on his way out. However, she made another last-minute decision to not alienate her closest friend and instead nominated Jason, who was evicted by a vote of 7 to 2.

Week #6

This week, Vanessa received a punishment that required her to be chained by the ankle to her former Co-HOH Jackie. We will have to wait to learn more about the events of Week #6.

The next episode of Big Brother 17 airs this Wednesday at 8:00pm ET on CBS. So far, Rousso has performed admirably and should be considered as one of the favorites to win this season of Big Brother and take home the $500,000 winner’s prize. Her biggest competition at this point appears to be both Liz and Julia, whose seemingly unbreakable identical twin bond grants them additional power with each passing week.

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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.

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