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Rob Has a Blogger: Why Marty Piombo Has Learned to Love the Switch

Marty Piombo from Survivor Nicaragua on the tribe switch on Survivor One World

Switch Happens (Photo courtesy of CBS)

Richie Glanzer will be writing a blog all season long for Rob Has a Website as we continue to cover “Survivor: One World” from every conceivable angle. Click Here to Read more About Rich

“With luck.”

That was Amber Brkich’s response when Alicia Calaway asked her to describe her game
play in one word at the Final Tribal Council in Survivor All-Stars. Amber was never much for
math, but apparently she did get lucky enough to win, besting her future husband, Boston Rob, 4-
3. (I think Amber played pretty awesome and the only luck she had was bad but that’s for another

There was a lot of luck spewing around Survivor camp this week, for some it was epically good,
for others, it went tragically bad.

The much awaited Tribe Switch occurred and I hope you all acted surprised as I requested.
While many Survivor fans like to predict who is going to win or lose before the season or after
episode one, in seasons with a tribe switch, its very hard to be remotely accurate, since luck plays such a huge factor.

Look, full disclosure here, I do a lot of research to write this blog. I try to get former contestants opinions… Contestants that you’ve actually heard of. I think my work ethic speaks for itself but if you think I’m going to Google which tribe is the Selanne (for hockey great, Teemu Selanne) tribe and which tribe is the other, you’re out of your frickin’ minds. Lets just call one of them the Greek Gods (GG), and the other the Peasants… and besides, now that Monica is out, she won’t mind.

Getting back to luck. When the tribe switch occurred I pressed pause. My initial reaction was
Colton just won Survivor. He was paired with Jonas, Tarzan, and Leif, all three of whom he has
wrapped around his finger. Then he also had Monica and Christina, which I felt was amazing
since they were the two not in the Woo Girls Alliance. This was best case for Colton.

Then I looked at the other tribe. They had four of the Woo Girls and Jay, Mike, and Troyzan.
Colton said, “Look at them and look at us, its like Greek Gods versus peasants.”

The switch proved doom for Monica and it will undoubtedly prove the demise of Christina next but for the guy running the whole f’in show, Colton, this was quite possibly the worst case scenario.

From his couch in front of the TV, Marty Piombo of Survivor Nicaragua, let out an evil smile.
Maybe you remember Marty, maybe you don’t, but if you don’t remember him, don’t blame Marty,
blame the Tribe Switch.

He was the leader of the older people tribe during his season. Things were running smoothly for
him until the dreaded switch. After the switch Marty went from leader to leper and single
moms in Vegas rejoiced as Fabio ended up winning the game and million dollar prize.

Marty says, “I don’t like switches in general because obviously it didn’t help my cause but when
someone else is on the wrong end of it, its more fun to watch.”

That is if you like watching train wrecks. Sorry, but after getting rid of their best athlete in Monica, I can’t envision the Peasants ever winning a challenge. I would expect almost all the challenges to be very physical and we saw Mike and Jay manhandle and toss aside everyone. Plus, without Monica, the girls on the other tribe are way more athletic than the girls on the Peasants. Sure,they have the edge in Little People and Crazy Old Guy challenges, but Survivor usually doesn’t cater to those groups.

Still, Marty says don’t turn off your television sets yet. “You can never tell what is going to
happen in these challenges. I wouldn’t count the Misfits out just yet… and keep in mind, Colton is dominating mentally and who knows what happens when the tribes merge.”

I think I do. My belief is the GGs will be up 7-3. They will vote out whatever guy (probably
Tarzan) Colton and Alicia bring with them. Then the next vote will be split to flush out the idol and Alicia will go instead, before Colton finally ends his run. Marty sees it differently.

“I think Colton is going to make it to the final three. The guy has managed to win people on all sides. He has people on the old tribe that will still be able to listen and play with him. He’s manipulated some bright people. Not too many but some. Monica is no dummy.”

But Monica had no choice but to drink the Colton Kool-Aid. Come merge time, the others will.

Richie’s Hero: Kim

Others have been very high on Kim’s game all season. CBS has shown so little of her and I never
understood how… until now. She’s part of an unbreakable four-person alliance, she found the
Hidden Immunity Idol and if she plays her cards right and tells no one else of the idol, she can
waltz into the Final Three, with whomever she wants to bring. I don’t know if I will choose her to win just yet, but I do think one of the Woo Girls will.

Richie’s Heel: Jay

Jay will be able to save himself, but unfortunately, he’s going to be eaten alive by Kim, the
way Parvati did to James and Ozzy.

Kim said, “This has been my thing all along. I’m trying to keep my options open. So if sticking with the girls work best for me in the long run I’ll stick with the girls and if we get to the merge and we don’t have the numbers, Troy and Jay are my alliance all the way.”

Jay is going to need to trust Colton. He’s going to have to turn on his alliance so the girls don’t make an all girl pact but I think Jay will be so happy being rid of Colton, that he will stick with the Woo Girls, and find himself blindsided anywhere from fifth to seventh place.

Richie’s Thoughts:

I hated Colton’s blindside of Monica. I don’t see the need to be intentionally mean. And if
Christina makes it to the jury, she will rightfully hold Colton’s blindside against him. Its ok to lie but only when you have to.

How many times is Christina going to survive? I thought the men were insane to get rid of
Monica. She was a stellar athlete and it was their only advantage. Colton knew they were going
to lose another challenge anyway, so why get rid of her now? It wasn’t a Bill situation where you wouldn’t get another chance. I’d love to see Christina win, though I cant see how its going to happen at this point.

Rob Cesternino

Rob Cesternino is a two-time Survivor player and reality TV aficionado. Rob gives his thoughts on his favorite Reality TV shows as the host of "Rob Has a Podcast" More From Rob Cesternino »

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  • Hey Richie, just to let you know, I came very close to firing you on the spot when I read that part about the only luck Amber had on All-Stars was bad luck.  Let’s call that strike one!

    • Wombatz

      Okay, we know that comment was tongue-in-cheek, but jeez Rob, that allstars thing was like 50 years ago or something. Since I am just an internet-nobody, I let someone else reinforce my point: The great Randy Bailey.

      You probably know which quote I mean, but just to be mean, I will cite it now.
      “It’s nothing more pathetic than a reality person just not being able to let go.”

    • RichieGlanzer

      Unlike everyone on Celebrity Apprentice, I’m not gonna fall on my own sword. Amber played great and I’m not saying that just bc she’s really hot!

  • GlennHolford

    A unique phrase never before written in the English language: “I think Amber played pretty awesome”

    • RichieGlanzer

      You guys are killing me!!!!

  • Hey Richie,
    Loved your blog so far, but that thing about Amber…
    I almost unsubscribe from on the spot. Not sure what Rob would think about that (oh wait, he posted it an hour ago) :-)

    • RichieGlanzer

      Thanks David, but what do you mean about what Rob would think about that? I’ve been busy and couldn’t respond.

    • RichieGlanzer

      Never mind David, I scrolled down haha. I will defend my point during the off-season.

  • damnbueno

    I think I agree with every word of your post this week.

    Every word you wrote about THIS season that is.

    Just about everything that happened to Amber in All-Stars involved luck — good luck, dumb luck, freakishly good luck, and freakishly dumb luck.  While she did well in the challenges, she was most lucky that Rob pissed off one too many jurors.  Beyond that, her entire strategy involved repeating one sentence:

    “Ok Rob, good idea, let’s do that.”

    Amber blindly followed Jerri in Australia, then did the same thing with Boston Rob in All-Stars.  She never once thought for herself.

    Oh yeah, and Colton is the last person Jay will trust.  He’ll stick with Mike, Jonas, Leif, and Tarzan before hanging his chances to win on Colton’s decisions.  His best move right now is to get to know the women on his tribe as well as Chris got to know the women in Vanuatu.

    • RichieGlanzer

      Amber did an amazing job when she got to Lex’s tribe to survive. And I wouldn’t call it luck that she listened to everything Rob said. She got lucky she was put in that tribe, but nothing else was luck. Luck is the wrong word.

      I agree with you on Jay. But I think the girls are gonna oust him first chance they get that they don’t need him.

      • damnbueno

        The All-Stars season swung on 2 things: Lex’s decision to trust Rob’s word, and Rob voting Lex out at the next vote.  Amber did little to affect the outcome on either of those two events.

        After the tribes were switched, Amber laid low and tried to show she was a better worker than lazy Jerri.  Then when Lex’s tribe lost the Trivia Immunity challenge, Rob, not Amber, went into action pulling Lex aside and saying “If you take care of her, I’ll take care of you.”  Lex felt that Rob was sincere, but was still unsure.  He was torn between booting Jerri or Amber.  He knew Rob would be pissed if he booted Amber, but didn’t think Jerri was trustworthy either.  Lex used Kathy, not Amber, as his main advisor on this decision.  Amber pitched a final 5 deal to Lex, but he didn’t buy it.  Jerri even warned Lex that Rob’s word was worthless, but he didn’t listen to her either.

        It was KATHY’s influence, not Amber’s, that swayed Lex into trusting Rob’s word.  Kathy had played with Rob before and told Lex “I believe he’s a good kid.”  Amber had no influence on Lex or Kathy, and didn’t affect Lex’s decision at all.  Lex didn’t know how much Rob feared Lex would form a new alliance with Big Tom after a merge.

        After Lex booted Jerri, Rob knew he had to get rid of Lex ASAP.  Lex suspected Rob was wavering on his promise, and knew he had to have Immunity.  Amber did nothing to put Lex’s mind at ease.  The next Immunity Challenge gave Immunity to one woman and one man.  Amber lost to Kathy, but Rob narrowly beat Lex in a water challenge.  Amber did nothing to keep herself safe here either.  Rob had to save her again.

        Then of course was that season’s biggest confrontation when Rob lied to Lex and said “I said I’d take care of you IF I CAN, and I cannot.”  Kathy was there with him, but Amber was nowhere to be found.  It was Rob, not Amber, who convinced Tom, Rupert, Jenna, Shii-Ann and Alicia to vote for Lex.

        Amber’s win is almost a textbook definition of a “pure luck” win.

        She was lucky that season’s best manipulator chose her for his partner.  She didn’t choose him, he approached her.
        She was lucky Lex bought Rob’s lie.
        She was lucky Kathy also bought Rob’s lie and convinced Lex to trust him.
        She was lucky Rob beat Lex for Immunity.
        She was lucky Rob was able to start a fight between Big Tom and Rupert at final 5.  That was Rob’s idea, not Amber’s.
        And she was most lucky Rob pissed off one too many jurors.

        In fact, Shii-Ann cast Amber’s 4th and winning vote because she believed Amber was playing Rob for a fool, and wasn’t really interested in him. Since Amber WAS interested in Rob, we can’t even say Amber intentionally fooled Shii-Ann. Getting her vote was the luckiest thing of all for Amber.

        Only Natalie’s win in Samoa was more of a “pure luck” win than Amber’s.

        Actually, Jenna’s win was also more of a “pure luck” win than Amber’s too.

        •  Amen brother!

        • RichieGlanzer

          The All-Stars season swung on 2 things: Lex’s decision to trust Rob’s word, and Rob voting Lex out at the next vote. 
          There was barely a switch that season, if you remember the only person that switched teams was Amber. So the All-Star season didn’t swing on anything. Once Rob’s tribe had the #’s, they were going to pick Lex’s tribe off one by one. Lex was toast no matter what. Him keeping Amber was a good play, bc he needed a Hail Mary. Keeping Amber was the Hail Mary. Had he kept Jerri, Rob would have gotten rid of Lex bc Lex was the only strong male on that tribe. I wrote about it here.

 Much of what I wrote proved to be wrong, but one thing that was right, was he lost Lex’s vote when he didn’t keep Lex. But Lex didn’t lose bc Rob didn’t keep him. He lost bc he got rid of all his strong allies, lost every challenge, and then was the largest male left. 

          You wanna say Amber coasted her way to the finals? Sure. I’ll agree with that. But staying with Rob is a strategy, not luck.

          • damnbueno

            Your argument is based upon the notion that Rob’s tribe would remain 100% loyal to him at the merge.  This would not have happened.  I’m not saying this because it’s my opinion, I’m saying it because the players themselves said it.

            I have the All-Stars DVD.  Lex, Kathy, Alicia and Shii-Ann all provided commentary on it.  All four of them were together at the same time.  While Rob’s tribe held a 5-4 edge at the merge, it would have been completely different if Lex had booted Amber instead of Jerri.

            I hate playing “what if” but I don’t really have a choice here.  Suppose Jerri is there at the merge instead of Amber.  Rob’s alliance now includes Rupert, Jenna, Big Tom and Alicia.  Lex has got Kathy, Shii-Ann and Jerri.

            On the DVD, Alicia says she absolutely hated Rob and was dying for the chance to defect.  She said she knew the only reason Rob pitched a partnership with her was because he thought Amber was already gone. She said “But in Survivor, you have to lie your ass off, smile and say ‘Yeah, I’m with you Rob, I’ll never write your name down.'” But she didn’t want to defect without Big Tom.

            Shii-Ann and Kathy also said they believed if Amber was gone, Big Tom would defect to join his friend Lex.  However, Alicia says Tom is a solid believer in sticking with the numbers, which is why he didn’t betray Rob & Amber at the merge.  But if Rob’s strength is weakened by not having blindly loyal Amber with him, Alicia says she could have convinced Tom to join Lex.  Tom would have been more likely to believe Jerri would stay loyal to Lex than Amber would.  At that moment Tom was the most powerful player in the game, even though he didn’t know it.  If he and Alicia had joined Lex, suddenly Rob’s tribe is down to 3 loyal members.  Even if Jerri joins Rob, Lex’s alliance still has the 5-4 edge.

            So yes, the entire game swung on Lex’s decision to keep Amber.  Amber remaining in the game is what kept Tom loyal to Rob.

            Rob knew Lex was the only player who had a chance to influence Tom’s decisions.  That’s why it was so important for Rob to get rid of Lex.  Just like Rob couldn’t afford to let Rob C. stick around manipulating everyone, he couldn’t vote anyone else out because it would give Lex more time to work on Tom, Alicia, Rupert & Jenna.

            And the only strategy Amber came up with that whole season was figuring out how to tighten her grip on Rob’s coattails.

            If you were gonna ask someone to make your moves for you in Survivor, who would you choose, someone like Amber or Natalie, or someone like Yul or Cirie?

          • “You wanna say Amber coasted her way to the finals? Sure. I’ll agree with that. But staying with Rob is a strategy, not luck.”

            Falling in love with somebody and then coattailriding him doesn´t have anything to do with strategy.

            Somehow alot of times when a useless player decides to start coattailriding, people tend to claim that that was all strategy. People say that Natalie was so smart because it was HER that CHOSE Russell because she knew that he would never win when infact she only stayed with him because HE chose her and she was afraid to make a move against him.

            Same thing now with Jonas. People say that he was smart because he uses Colton as a shield but thats bull. In all his interviews he made it clear that he really thinks that Colton is the ring leader and he even is responsible for that. When Colton said that he would love to give Immunity to the girls Jonas was the only one who took that seriously. He was that one who made a comment like “Well thats an interesting thought” or something like that. Thats when the discussion about giving up Immunity started. It was Jonas who immediately got intimidated by Colton as soon as he revealed his Idol and last episode when Jonas asked how Colton gets through with all that I almost lost my mind. I was literally screaming at my computer ” BECAUSE YOU LET HIM YOU FAT F***!!!!!!!!!!”.

            I don´t understand how it is so hard for some people to simply accept the fact that alot of players only make it to the end because of luck and being useless and that that has nothing to do with strategy (no offense intended Richi ;)). Amber did nothing strategic. Her decision to stick with Rob was not strategy. In the beginning it was Rob who chose her to be his ally mostly because he felt attracted to her and of course she stuck with that in the beginning. But seriously this is what everybody does. Just stick with the first one that offers you an alliance and don´t complain. If you wanna see that as strategic then basically every player in the past was strategic in one way or the other. Her further cooperation with Rob was only because both of them fell in love. And as long as she didn´t make him fall in love with her on purpose to win the game I don´t see anything strategic with that 😉

          • RichieGlanzer

            Jack no offense taken.

            But yes, I feel every player to ever play Survivor used some form of strategy. Lets take the Mute Cowboy Rick. That guy didn’t do a damned thing. But it was his strategy to listen to everything Coach told him to do. He may not have intended it that way before he got to the Island, but at some point that became his strategy. It wasn’t luck that he chose that. It may have been dumb, but it wasn’t dumb luck.

            Amber and Rob came together. Amber didn’t trust Rob. I remember her saying that. But eventually she let her guard down and she did everything he said. But I don’t view that as luck. In the end, I thought she deserved to win bc Rob deserved to lose more than she did. 

            I think Rob made three fatal mistakes.
            1) Not losing intentionally to Lex in the immunity challenge, and then not voting out Shi Ann instead. And then letting Lex know that’s all he could do.
            2) Making a pact with Alicia when he thought Amber was going home. It was a pact made on emotion and he should have waited. I know its easy to say that from my couch but he lost her vote when he broke that pact. (As she said, I told you I would never write your name down and I wont)
            3) Shi Ann. He identified her as the swing vote, she told everyone that Amber was playing the best game. He needed to realize she was the swing vote and make his whole final tribal based on Shi Ann. 

            I’m not saying Amber played great, I’m saying Rob blew three votes and didn’t go after the 4th hard enough. I don’t consider any of this luck.

          • damnbueno

            Calling Tom a liar didn’t help Rob’s chances either. I’d call that a pretty fatal mistake.  That’s why Tom didn’t vote for him.

            Amber didn’t influence, manipulate or convince Rob to make any of the mistakes that cost him those 4 votes.  She was lucky Rob screwed up with the Jury.

            Amber didn’t talk her way into getting Tom’s vote.  Tom voted against Rob.
            Amber didn’t convince Alicia to vote for her.  Alicia was NEVER gonna vote for Rob.
            Amber didn’t earn Lex’s vote either.  Like Alicia, there was no way Lex
            would vote for Rob after Rob screwed him over the way he did.
            And Amber didn’t have a master plan to manipulate Rob into bringing her to the finals by pretending to be interested in him — like Shii-Ann suspected.  Amber was lucky Shii-Ann read the situation wrong and based her vote on that perception.

            Almost nothing that went Amber’s way was by any plan that she conceived in advance and executed flawlessly.  She was chosen by Rob, then sat back and watched him pull all the strings.

            Even at the final 4 when she won Immunity, she & Rob tried to convince Jenna that nobody could beat Rupert for the million.  Jenna didn’t buy their argument, but instead voted Rupert out because she feared facing a purple rock tiebreaker.  If Amber had scared Jenna by suggesting the rock tiebreaker, then THAT could be considered good strategy, but Amber didn’t do that.

            Then at the final 3 Immunity, both Rob and Amber were lucky Jenna lost her concentration and lifted her foot.

            I can’t see how any of this can be considered good strategy.

            There isn’t one player that we can accurately say left the game purely because of Amber’s strategy or manipulation.

            Boston Rob got rid of Rob C, Lex, Kathy, Alicia, Shii-Ann, Big Tom, & Jenna L.
            Lex got rid of Rich, Ethan and Jerri
            Jenna L. got rid of Tina, Rudy & Rupert
            Jerri & Shii-Ann share credit for booting Colby
            Jenna M. and Sue quit

            Everyone who plays Survivor has the same basic strategy — get to the finals and convince the Jury to vote for you to be the winner.  While this is what happened to Amber, it hardly means she had a good strategy, unless of course it can be proven that before the game started, she knew Rob was the best player and she had to become partners with him to have any chance of winning.

            Instead, Amber was merely in the right place at the right time most of the game, and was saved by the better player when she couldn’t save herself.  In other words, she was lucky.

          • RichieGlanzer

            She didn’t get lucky that Jenna lost. She outlasted Jenna. You have to give her some credit there. There is a mental toughness to stay alert in those challenges.

            I never insinuated she was this master strategist. But I don’t consider standing next to the guy who does all the work luck. Whether its a good strategy or not is debatable (and I don’t typically like it) but the word luck isn’t the right word. 

            And calling Tom a liar didn’t cost Rob Tom’s vote. Voting out Tom cost Rob Tom’s vote. Nothing he could do would change that. I actually liked that bc it was better than the crocodile tears. I would have liked for him to focused all his energy on Shi Ann, since she was the swing. He had Rupert, Kathy and Jenna. He lost the other three. He needed to focus on the swing. He didn’t.

          • damnbueno

            Beating Jenna (and then losing to Rob) isn’t strategy.  In an earlier post, I acknowledged Amber did well in the challenges.  But Survivor is won and lost on strategy and the social game much more often than the physical game.  Did she outlast Jenna?  Yes.  Did she outlast Rob?  No.  In the end her challenge performance was barely a factor because Rob could always save her when she was vulnerable.

            Amber was lucky that the final challenge involved balance, which always favors females (unless they’re named Kat), but she still couldn’t beat a guy at it.

            Unless it can be proven that Amber used some sort of Vulcan mind manipulation that caused Jenna to be distracted, coming in 2nd in that challenge can’t be called good strategy.  She certainly didn’t lose on purpose knowing that Rob would take her to the finals.  She tried to beat him and failed.

            Either way you cut it, Amber got Tom’s vote because Rob pissed off Tom — be it by calling Tom a liar, or  by voting him out after doing so.  Since Amber did nothing to cause Rob to piss off Tom, getting his vote was a stroke of luck that fell her way.

            There’s no way Rob could have been counting on getting Kathy’s vote.  She was the only juror who agonized over her decision.  Her vote was far from being in Rob’s pocket when Jury questioning began.  I was shocked to find out Kathy voted for Rob.  I was predicting a 5-2 Amber win because I knew how nasty Rob had been to most of the Jury.  I thought Rupert and Jenna were the only jurors who didn’t despise him.

            If you’re right about Rob failing to focus on getting Shii-Ann’s vote, then that’s another example of how Amber had the good luck of benefiting from another of Rob’s Jury mistakes.

            I’m not sure what more Rob could have done to get her vote anyway.  He tried to be nice and respectful and told her she was next to go, but she won Immunity, so he booted Alicia instead.  After that, he and his brother were away from camp for a while enjoying a Reward with Tom and his son.  He didn’t have much time to schmooze her.  When Shii-Ann asked Rob to boot Jenna L. instead of her, he flatly turned her down.  He pretty much let her know he wasn’t gonna pass up the chance to get rid of her.  Shii-Ann knew she was next to go.  She didn’t base her vote on how either of the finalists treated her anyway, she voted for who she thought was the better manipulator, but as it turns out she was 100% wrong.  Amber got her vote by pure luck.

  • Mike C.

    I disagree with you about the first vote at the merge being to get rid of Tarzan.  With the GGs up 7 to 3, I think the vote gets split right then, not next vote.  Colton gets 4 votes, one peasant 3 votes, and the 3 peasants vote for a GG.  The peasant goes home on the revote.  The GGs would be wise to flush the idol immediately, since Colton could give the idol to Tarzan.

    Also, with the jury normally being 9 people and Survivor usually having the Jury be post-merge players (I know there have been times where pre-merge boots have made the jury, but not since Heroes vs. Villains), maybe the merge will happen at 12, not 10.  At this point, it will be 7-5, and Colton could easily get Troyzan back.  He also has ins with Michael, Jay, and Sabrina.  This would be Colton’s best shot/only hope other than being brought to the end as a goat.

    • RichieGlanzer

      Mike, I thought of flushing the idol out immediately, but not sure of tie-breakers and I’m not sure the GG’s are sure of tie-breakers. So that’s why I thought they may wait a week.

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