Big Brother 17 finished a couple of weeks ago, and Vanessa Rousso didn’t win. That honor went to Steve Moses, who took Liz Nolan with him to the final two and sent the professional poker player to the jury in the season finale. Now, Rousso has looked back on her season in an interview with Card Player, and has revealed getting to the end of the Big Brother was incredibly difficult, even for a seasoned tournament gambler.
“I’ve challenged myself with a lot of games in my life and I would say that [Big Brother] was probably the hardest game on earth. It was an unbelievable challenge, and even though I didn’t win I still look at it in a positive light because a) I had a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and b) I learned a lot about myself.”
Rousso reported hearing from fans outside the house that she deserved to win, which she called the greatest “consolation prize.” Rousso built a reputation as an aggressive and strategic player who thought through every possible move, almost ad nauseum. Due to her success as a poker player, some fans questioned whether she had a financial need for the $500,000 grand prize.
Along the way, she made friends and enemies inside the house. But apparently all is fair in love and Big Brother, and some of those who felt betrayed by Rousso’s game strategy have offered forgiveness. When Austin Matelson was unexpectedly evicted by Vanessa, he vowed to make sure she didn’t win, even promising to taint the jury.
Of course, Rousso never made it to the jury vote. And over this past weekend, Rousso showed off some party pics of herself, Matelson, and the Nolan twins hanging out in Las Vegas. So any hard feelings apparently have been set aside, at least for the sake of social media.
— Vanessa Rousso (@VanessaRousso) October 18, 2015
Matelson himself also posted some pics of himself and his in-house love, Liz Nolan. The pair have decided to give romance a shot away from the 24-hour a day cameras.
Rousso spoke frequently about her partner, Melissa Ouellet, while inside the Big Brother house. When she was released back into the real world, Ouellet proposed to Rousso at the Big Brother wrap party. Rousso said yes and showed off her engagement ring, as The Daily Mail reported. Mel was on hand as Matelson and the Nolan twins hung out with Rousso this weekend in Vegas.
But engagement isn’t the only change in Rousso’s life. She revealed that the Big Brother game gave her stamina she will use in future poker tournaments. She’s already been back at the tables since filming stopped on Big Brother and told Card Player that no one plays differently at her table after seeing her on the show. Rousso was already a recognizable player in that world before her stint on reality television, so things have not changed for her in poker.
“Before this, one of the biggest things I needed to work on in terms of my poker skills was my mental endurance. I would do well in short bursts. In very long tournaments I would usually run out of steam on day 4.
“I think I learned how to dig down to a whole new level to keep me going mentally.”
Big Brother has been renewed for another season on CBS.
[Main image: CBS / AfterEllen]