‘Survivor: Kaoh Rong’ spotlight: Can Liz Markham find the right strategy?

Liz -

Game theory. These are two words that we certainly heard often this past summer, when Vanessa Rousso used the term liberally throughout her time in the “Big Brother” house. The irony here is that Liz Markham on “Survivor: Kaoh Rong” actually filmed this season before Vanessa played on the CBS summer show, so it’s not like she’s just piggybacking on the term.

Liz is a great example of one of those players who comes into the game on paper looking like she could be a huge force to be reckoned with, but there is one question you still have to ask yourself: Is she going to be able to turn off the inner game theorist and get to know some of these people on a personal level? That is where we could see her having some trouble.

Age – 27

Location – New York, NY.

Tribe – Chan Loh a.k.a. the Brains tribe.

Occupation – Quantitative strategist. Here’s how she describes it: “I write computer programs that forecast stock prices and trade automatically.” That’s better than we could ever hope to.

Past “Survivor” comparison – Yep, she says Parvati. We’ve tried to give some women this season a pass on the “I pick Parvati” card that happens every single season, but we really don’t see the comparison much here with Liz. She strikes us more as a Shirin or (dare we say it) Garrett Adelstein, someone who understands the game very well on a strategic level and how she can work with numbers and odds and pieces on the chessboard to make them work.

Things to know – She went to school at MIT, counted cards in blackjack at one point in her life, and she’s also done some survival training in other parts of the world. She’s a very interesting person in terms of her life experience at a very young age.

Advantages – It’s fitting given the tribe name, but Liz is hyper-intelligent. She really understands some of the inner workings of how these sort of social games work, and she can analyze situations almost effortlessly. She’s also someone with enough survival experience to be effective in this sort of venue, at least enough that she won’t be the first person that people think of to send home because she’s working around camp. She should also be at least decent in challenges.

Disadvantages – We don’t really get a great sense of Liz’s social game, or how she will be able to connect with people who also have not gone through similar experiences. What happened a game theorist like Vanessa on “Big Brother” was that there were a limited number of people on the chopping block a week, and nobody wanted to nominate her in fear she would use her intelligence against them. That’s not a danger on “Survivor,” where you can truly blindside someone. We just think that she’s going to have a hard time keeping that inner strategy fan at bay and could talk herself out of the game.

Prediction – It’s be totally fun to see someone like Liz go really far, mostly because people who are very strategy-focused (Tony Vlachos, Stephen Fishbach, Cirie Fields) tend to be really entertaining players. We’re just not sure that we see the relatability there with Liz that will benefit her in the long-term. Maybe she makes it a few weeks into the game, but we’re projecting her as a reasonably early boot.

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