‘Survivor: Kaoh Rong’ spotlight: Will Anna Khait make the competition fold?

Anna -

If there is one thing we know very well about CBS reality television, it is this: They really love putting poker players on the show. Jean-Robert and Garrett are the two who have graced “Survivor” over the past several years, and let’s say that neither of them has a sterling reputation.

Can Anna Khait turn that around? We’re really thinking so, based on some of the first impressions that we have of her in this particular spotlight article. She’s articulate, understands that this is a social game, and she stresses the sort of flexibility that is good for any player to have.

Age – 26

Location – Brooklyn, New York. Obviously there have been many great New York “Survivor” contestants, especially from an entertainment perspective. Hopefully Anna adds to the list.

Tribe -Gondol a.k.a. the Beauty tribe.

Occupation – Pro poker player. Interestingly, Anna actually filmed this season before another female poker player in Vanessa Rousso went on “Big Brother,” and she came very close to winning that game.

Past “Survivor” comparison – Yes, she does the annoying thing and picks Parvati (it’s a recurring theme every season), but like with Michele, we’re not hating the comparison too much here … especially since she takes a page right out of the Parvati – Natalie Bolton playbook and says that she will flirt with the guys and the girls if need be, but won’t flirt at all if the environment isn’t right for it. Parvati showed on “Heroes vs. Villains” that she didn’t need to do that nearly as often to be a very good player. We’d say that Anna has some of that same great sense of awareness, but she’s also got the analytical mind of someone like a Sophie or a Shirin.

Things to know – She’s a very talented frontball player (though we’re mostly clueless about what frontball is), she moved to the United States from Russia when she was a very small child, and she says that she has watched the show for a very long time. It’s nice that the female castaways on the Beauty tribe seem to be pretty familiar with the show. She’s got an interesting background and plenty of interests, and that could help her connect with anyone.

Advantages – She comes across as very understanding of how the game works. She’s not telling you she has a foolproof strategy, and she says instead that she will adapt to those who are around her. She’s confident she will be able to handle the conditions well, and given her frontball talents we have to at least assume that she’s reasonably athletic and will hold her own in the challenges. There may be this perception that because of her occupation she’s going to want to go out there and strategize 24/7, but she says that she is willing to be patient and let some of the right moves come to her.

Disadvantages – Is Anna going to be able to keep her intelligence on the down-low, let alone her job? For any player, being smart is often seen as a target, and this may be why CBS helped Anna with her tribe placement. She can just claim that she is a waitress or fashion photographer and nobody would think otherwise. The problem is that it’s so much easier to mask the more threatening parts of your personality when you are in horrible conditions and you’re not getting much sleep.

Prediction – We’re not going to say that Anna is our pick to win this season (we haven’t spotlighted everyone yet), but we’re super-high on what she’s capable of doing out there. She’s got the ideal amount of life experience that you want for a “Survivor” winner, and is coming into the game with experience in mind games already. We also think that her tribe stacks up fairly well for her with many people who would likely want to work with her. It’s possible in theory she could be an early boot if she gets found out, but if she’s not, it’s easy to see so many scenarios where she is just forgotten about, and spends that time running the game behind the scenes.

How well do you think Anna could fare this season … is victory in the cards for her? (Yeah, we’re sorry about that.) Share below, and head over here to get some other “Survivor” spotlights right now! Also, sign up over at this link to get some other TV news on everything we cover, sent right over to you via our CarterMatt Newsletter. (Photo: CBS.)


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