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Stephen Fishbach

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Stephen Fishbach's Survivor Blog: Tasha's Original Sin and Abi-Maria's Tremendous Transgression

Survivor

Stephen Fishbach's Survivor Blog: Tasha's Original Sin and Abi-Maria's Tremendous Transgression

Originally posted 10/19/2015 01:15AM

Stephen Fishbach was the runner-up on Survivor: Tocantins and has been blogging about Survivor strategy for PEOPLE since 2009. This season, he will blog about his experiences in Cambodia as a competitor on Survivor: Second Chance. Follow Stephen on Twitter @stephenfishbach.

"Just because we've said what we're doing, doesn't necessarily mean it's going to happen." –Jeff Varner, Survivor: The Australian Outback

"Hell is other people," according to French existentialist philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre – and probably also Survivor contestant Tasha Fox.

In Sartre's classic play No Exit, three sinners are forced to endure eternity justifying their wickedness to each other. On Wednesday night's episode of Survivor, Tasha endured an eternity of Abi-Maria's wickedness.

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Credit: Timothy Kuratek/CBS
Stephen Fishbach's Survivor Blog: It's Not Cheating If It's Not Against the Rules!

Survivor

Stephen Fishbach's Survivor Blog: It's Not Cheating If It's Not Against the Rules!

Originally posted 10/13/2015 11:20AM

Stephen Fishbach was the runner-up on Survivor: Tocantins and has been blogging about Survivor strategy for PEOPLE since 2009. This season, he will blog about his experiences in Cambodia as a competitor on Survivor: Second Chance. Follow Stephen on Twitter @stephenfishbach.

"It's about winning the war. It's not about winning the battles." –Peih-Gee Law, Survivor: China

Julius Caesar wrote, "Fortune can bring about great changes in a situation through very slight forces."

He was talking about war – and about life – but those words ring equally true for Survivor. You grab the green-colored woven Cambodian box instead of the pink and suddenly everything is different.

We are all fortune's fools on Survivor – at the mercy of the television gods for the people we're competing against, for the food we find, even for the weather that buffets us at night. The right immunity challenge when you need it most can be the difference between reality TV greatness and irrelevance. Witness poor purple Tyler from Worlds Apart. What happens to our narrative of the entire season if he wins a memory challenge at the final seven instead of losing an endurance competition?

Small injuries can bring down entire alliances. That's why it's so important to be careful with your chopping! You scrape your hands building the shelter, your tribe narrowly loses immunity and suddenly you're cooling your heels at Ponderosa, your best moments confined to the YouTube secret scenes.

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Credit: CBS
Stephen Fishbach Blogs About Survivor MacGyver and a Second-Week Switch-Up

Survivor

Stephen Fishbach Blogs About Survivor MacGyver and a Second-Week Switch-Up

Originally posted 10/01/2015 11:30AM

Stephen Fishbach was the runner-up on Survivor: Tocantins and has been blogging about Survivor strategy for PEOPLE since 2009. This season, he will blog about his experiences in Cambodia as a competitor on Survivor: Second Chance. Follow Stephen on Twitter @stephenfishbach.

"Maybe I'm not in the driver's seat right away. But I'm in the passenger's seat, backseat driving." –Shirin Oskooi, Survivor: Worlds Apart

What's daily life actually like on Survivor?

People ask me all the time. On television you see the strategy and the blindsides. You see the exhausting challenges, the bitter fights and the fraught tribal councils.

But, like an iceberg, 99 percent of Survivor is beneath the surface. There are long hours baking in the hot sun. We made stupid jokes and bonded over our families. We spent interminable nights tossing and turning on the bamboo, trying to find a comfortable spot between the beams, watching the moon cross the sky as Keith snored softly beside us.

On the first night, as we were lying under the open roof of our shelter, Jeremy speculated – what if there's a coconut tree right above us and a coconut falls? We couldn't sleep all night as we waited to be brained by falling coconuts.

(In the morning, we happily noticed that there were in fact no coconut trees above our shelter.)

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Credit: Monty Brinton/CBS
Stephen Fishbach's Survivor Blog: An Alliance Scramble, the First Elimination and 'My Nightmare Tribe'

Survivor

Stephen Fishbach's Survivor Blog: An Alliance Scramble, the First Elimination and 'My Nightmare Tribe'

Originally posted 09/24/2015 05:15PM

Stephen Fishbach was the runner-up on Survivor: Tocantins and has been blogging about Survivor strategy for PEOPLE since 2009. This season, he will blog about his experiences in Cambodia as a competitor on Survivor: Second Chance. Follow Stephen on Twitter @stephenfishbach.

"Trust is the currency of this game." –Vytas Baskauskas, Survivor: Blood vs. Water

There's no feeling in life quite like when Jeff Probst says "Go!" for that first time.

The 20 castaways of Survivor: Second Chance had been waiting for months. We had trained in the gym and studied strategies. We had begged friends for their votes. We had flown to Cambodia, toured the ruins of Angkor Wat and traveled deep into the jungle.

We were eyeing each other, imagining our alliances, even preparing our final tribal speeches. Until that point, however, it was all anticipation and guesswork.

Then our four boats pulled up before that Cambodian scow. Jeff said, "It begins now."

And we literally jumped into the game.

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Credit: Timothy Kuratek/CBS
Stephen Fishbach's Survivor Blog: Gearing Up for a Second Chance

Survivor

Stephen Fishbach's Survivor Blog: Gearing Up for a Second Chance

Originally posted 09/23/2015 11:30AM

Stephen Fishbach was the runner-up on Survivor: Tocantins and has been blogging about Survivor strategy for PEOPLE since 2009. This season, he will blog about his experiences in Cambodia as a competitor on Survivor: Second Chance. Follow Stephen on Twitter @stephenfishbach.

"This is the All-Stars. It's hardcore. You've gotta play this game more intense than you did before." –Amber Brkich, winner of Survivor: All Stars

Once more unto the beach.

Last May, Survivor fans voted to send 20 former players back to the island. Twenty losers were given a second shot to starve and suffer in the Cambodian monsoon while they played the world's greatest game. They could correct their mistakes – or fall flat on their faces trying.

Thanks to you, I was one of those lucky losers. So before I say anything else – thank you. Whether you voted for me, supported me on social media or happened to click on my face because you needed to fill out 10 ballots but were really there to vote for Joe: thanks.

Over the next few months, I have been gifted another incredible opportunity: I get to blog about the experience. I will be doing my usual episode analysis, awarding Fishies to great strategic moves and Rotten Fishies to blunders. This time, however, my blog will be leavened with my first-person experience of what it's like to actually be on the beach – how it feels to build a shelter, to put faith in an alliance, and to bask in the warm glow of Jeff Probst's dimpled smile.

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Credit: Monty Brinton/CBS
Find Out Who America Chose to Compete on the Next Season of Survivor | Jeff Probst

Survivor

Find Out Who America Chose to Compete on the Next Season of Survivor

Originally posted 05/20/2015 11:15PM

America has spoken.

With more than 10 million ballots cast, fans of Survivor have selected 10 men and 10 women to head to a remote island later this week to play the game.

All of the contestants have played the game once before, but none of them have walked away with the $1 million check.

These 20 contestants will be immediately sequestered. They will speak to the media on Friday before going to Cambodia to play the game.

With no further ado, these are the contestants America chose.

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Credit: Monty Brinton/CBS
Stephen Fishbach's Survivor Finale Blog: A Victor Who 'Fought Back Against Overwhelming Odds'

Survivor

Stephen Fishbach's Survivor Finale Blog: A Victor Who 'Fought Back Against Overwhelming Odds'

Originally posted 05/20/2015 10:10PM

Stephen Fishbach was the runner-up on Survivor: Tocantins and has been blogging about Survivor strategy for PEOPLE since 2009. Follow him on Twitter @stephenfishbach.

"When I start working hard on something, my whole body and soul just goes into it, with every ounce of me. … And that's what winners do. Winners keep fighting. Champions keep persevering." –Bobby Jon Drinkard, Survivor: Palau

I'm filing this dispatch to PEOPLE mere moments before I learn if I'm about to be cast on Survivor: Second Chances. Whether or not I end up being selected – I want to thank all of you who have voted for me over the past few weeks. The outpouring of support I've received has truly touched me, and I am incredibly grateful.

Now on to Wednesday's finale: Spoilers ahead.

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Credit: Monty Brinton/CBS/Landov; Monty Brinton/CBS (2)
Stephen Fishbach's Survivor Blog: The Alliance of Six Starts to Show Cracks | Survivor, Survivor, Stephen Fishbach

Survivor

Stephen Fishbach's Survivor Blog: The Alliance of Six Starts to Show Cracks

Originally posted 05/14/2015 12:45PM

Stephen Fishbach was the runner-up on Survivor: Tocantins and has been blogging about Survivor strategy for PEOPLE since 2009. Follow him on Twitter @stephenfishbach.

"I cannot let my guard down. You can't trust nobody now, nobody. You're playing for a million dollars. People have murdered for less than a million dollars." –Twila Tanner, Survivor: Vanuatu

On Wednesday's Survivor, we finally answered a vital question: How long will it take in a puzzle before host Jeff Probst starts telling people the answer?

One hour into the word puzzle, the contestants were exploring options like "wax," "fishin' " and "shaint" when Probst finally cracked and started throwing out softball clues.

It was a comical moment in a crazy episode. Once again, Mike won immunity. And once again the alliance of six had to turn on one of its own. This time, though, the alliance started to show real cracks.

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Credit: Monty Brinton/CBS /Landov (3)
Stephen Fishbach's Survivor Blog: A Birthday Boy and a Bold Move | Survivor, Survivor, Stephen Fishbach

Survivor

Stephen Fishbach's Survivor Blog: A Birthday Boy and a Bold Move

Originally posted 05/07/2015 12:10AM

Stephen Fishbach was the runner-up on Survivor: Tocantins and has been blogging about Survivor for PEOPLE since 2009. Follow him on Twitter @stephenfishbach.

"I really believe that when you identify a threat, you take them out as soon as possible. You don't wait." –Tom Westman, Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains

A Humble Appeal

Before I start this week's blog, I want to take a moment for a personal note.

I've been blogging about Survivor strategy since 2009. I've written more than 150 blogs analyzing every boot and blindside from the past 11 seasons. I have been truly touched and humbled that so many of you come back every week to see what I have to say and to share your thoughts in the comments.

CBS is offering me a chance to take what I've learned from writing this blog and apply it to actually playing Survivor. They've launched a Second Chance season. The cast will be determined entirely by fan votes.

If you could take a brief moment to head over to CBS and vote for me, I would be honored and grateful. I'd like to try to win some Fishies, not just award them.

And I will do my best to do my readers proud.

Now let the analysis begin!

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Credit: CBS; Getty
Stephen Fishbach's Survivor Blog: A Challenge Beast, a Game of Inches

Survivor

Stephen Fishbach's Survivor Blog: A Challenge Beast, a Game of Inches

Originally posted 04/30/2015 01:40AM

Stephen Fishbach was the runner-up on Survivor: Tocantins and has been blogging about Survivor strategy for PEOPLE since 2009. Follow him on Twitter @stephenfishbach.

"You've just gotta hope that those true alliances that you thought you had, and that you tried to build at the beginning, help you at the end. But sometimes it just doesn't work out that way." –Russell Hantz, Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains

Mike Holloway is a superb Survivor player. He's a challenge beast who will grip a pole until his palms are bloody. He's a strategic wizard who will blow up your tribal council with grandiose idol flourishes that would make Russell Hantz blush. He's a natural charmer, who has built alliances from the ground up.

But, while Mike is great at making friends, he's not so great at keeping them. One by one his allies have abandoned him. When Rodney flipped, it seemed like a hot-headed disagreement over Joaquin. Now Mike has lost everybody.

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