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Wanna Win Big Brother? Here’s What To Do And Not Do Based On Prior Seasons

 Taylor Hale in the Big Brother finale.
Taylor Hale in the Big Brother finale.

Big Brother is a game in which even the best-laid plans can go awry, so it may be easy to assume winning is random luck. I'll concede there are a lot of variables to consider that lead to times Houseguests should've gone further in the game, but those who follow the "dos and don'ts" of the game often find a path to winning more often than not. Look back at past seasons of the CBS reality series and there's plenty of evidence to support this.

Below, we'll talk about the moves that game winners made to win it all, as well as the errors those who came close to the end made that led to their downfall. If you want to win a future season of Big Brother, these are the tips to follow and avoid.

Derek Frazier smiling
Derek Frazier smiling

Do Unite Your Alliance Around A Common Cause

Big Brother alliances can be fickle or sometimes outright fraudulent. It's the nature of the game, which is why establishing a common cause often leads to the strongest bond. The Cookout's quest in Season 23 to secure the flagship game's first Black winner resulted in an unbreakable alliance from the very start, with zero wavering until there was no one else to target.

Marcellas Reynolds on Big Brother CBS
Marcellas Reynolds on Big Brother CBS

Don’t Refuse To Use The Veto On Yourself

Denying guaranteed safety in Big Brother is always a foolish decision, especially after winning a veto. Marcellas Reynolds learned that the hard way when he refused to use the veto on himself while on the block in Season 3, and was promptly voted out of the game soon after. Always use the veto on yourself when nominated.

Xavier Prather and Derek Frazier sitting
Xavier Prather and Derek Frazier sitting

Do Hide How Athletic You Might Be Early On

Big Brother has historically favored athletic and coordinated Houseguests, so more strategic-minded players will often look to those who succeed early as targets for eviction. Season 23 winner Xavier Prather was able to keep a low profile by downplaying his athleticism, and didn't fully start to dominate competitions until the latter half of the game. Had he won sooner, people might've rethought keeping him.

Shane on Big Brother
Shane on Big Brother

Don’t Agree To Be A Pawn In The Home Stretch

In general, volunteering to be a pawn is never a great strategy. Volunteering to be a pawn in the home stretch is straight-up terrible gameplay, and Shane Meaney learned that the hard way in Big Brother 14. Despite having his showmance, Danielle Murphee as the HOH and veto holder, he was sent packing thanks to masterful manipulation by Dan Gheesling.

Cody in Big Brother
Cody in Big Brother

Do Win The First HOH And Secure Alliances

Big Brother proper has had twenty-five winners. Of those twenty-five, five won the first Head of Household. Being the first HOH, if played right, is a great way to establish a strong core alliance and get a chance to hear from everyone playing the game. That's probably why they often do well in the game, except for the disastrous first HOH from Season 23 Houseguest Frenchie.

Vanessa Rousso on Big Brother Season 17
Vanessa Rousso on Big Brother Season 17

Don’t Underestimate The Nice Guy, Even If They’re Your Ally

Vanessa Rousso was a lock to win Big Brother, but a betrayal by her closest ally, Steve Moses, sent her packing. In the end, her one misstep was assuming Steve would overlook her dominance and hand her the win. She thought wrong, and more credit to Steve for the upset victory.

Taylor Hale on Big Brother on CBS
Taylor Hale on Big Brother on CBS

Do Prepare For The Final Two Questions

Sometimes it may seem like the Final Two portion of Big Brother is a formality, as the jury has had plenty of time to deliberate who is the most deserving winner left. Taylor Hale proved preparing for the Final Two can make all the difference, as she seemingly turned the tides and won over the Season 24 jury with her passionate speech arguing her social accolades trumped her showmance partner Monte Taylor's competitive accolades.

Enzo on Big Brother Season 22
Enzo on Big Brother Season 22

Don’t Skate To The End Without Building Your Resume

Enzo Palumbo made it far in both Big Brother Seasons 12 and 22 by surrounding himself with strong allies, and by remaining generally likable by the entire house. Unfortunately, once arriving at the end, Enzo didn't really have an argument for why he deserved to win over his other allies. Even when he made the Final Two in Season 22, there was no one in the jury who believed he actually deserved to win. Houseguests that make it that far must make a case for why they deserve to be.

Jag Bains in Big Brother
Jag Bains in Big Brother

Do Try To Win A Lot In The Final Weeks

Competition wins don't guarantee victory in Big Brother, but they certainly help making it to the end much easier. Jag Bains effectively took control of Season 25 with his record-breaking comp run, even if it was slightly unfair that he won back-to-back HOH reigns.

Dan Gheesling on Big Brother
Dan Gheesling on Big Brother

Don’t Ever Give Up On Trying To Save Yourself From Eviction

Every Houseguest should watch Big Brother Season 14, as it contains one of the moments that remind us why we love the show. Dan's Funeral, the iconic game move he pulled off that saved his surefire eviction, came after he spent 24 hours isolated from everyone else. If he was able to overturn his eviction, anyone can.

Dr. Will on Big Brother
Dr. Will on Big Brother

Do Remind Others How You Likely Won’t Win

Dr. Will Kirby won Big Brother Season 2 by convincing others that he was never going to win. Every time he went up for nomination, he reminded Houseguests he had no chance of winning compared to who he was up against. Before too long, everyone had taken out everyone else capable of winning, which ultimately led to his victory.

Tyler Crispen on Big Brother on CBS
Tyler Crispen on Big Brother on CBS

Don’t Hide Too Much Of What You’ve Done In The Game To The Jury

While keeping a low profile is vital to Big Brother, it's also important to do enough to ensure others know you're running the game. Tyler Crispen orchestrated much of Season 20 from the shadows, but so much of what he did was subtle, he ended up losing to Kaycee Clark who had a much stronger competition record.

Josh Martinez on Big Brother
Josh Martinez on Big Brother

Do Own Up To Your Actions, Even If They’re Unsavory

There will be debates on whether Josh Martinez won Big Brother Season 19 on his own merits, or because the jury disliked Paul Abrahamian that much. Josh might've been a contentious Houseguest, but unlike Paul, he owned that. I'd like to think that made the difference in his 5-4 win.

Tommy Bracco on Big Brother
Tommy Bracco on Big Brother

Don’t Assume People Will Tell The Truth And Do The Right Thing

Tommy Bracco found himself pleading with Holly Allen in the late stages of Big Brother Season 21, asking her to do the right thing. Only Tommy and Holly Allen knew with certainty that Jackson Michie lied, and only she could convince Cliff Hogg and Nicole Anthony about his deception. She didn't, of course, and that decision effectively ruined any hope Tommy had of winning.

Nicole Franzel in Big Brother: Reindeer Games
Nicole Franzel in Big Brother: Reindeer Games

Do Your Best To Use Allies As A Shield

Nicole Franzel can be a solid competitor, as she proved with Big Brother: Reindeer Games, but her true strength is her social game. Nicole has thrived in most all of her appearances by aligning with powerful players, and shielding herself behind them. It led to her win in Season 18, and a Final 3 exit in Season 22.

Cirie Fields in Big Brother
Cirie Fields in Big Brother

Don’t Target Your Own Alliance If They Aren’t Coming For You

Big Brother Houseguests have plenty of targets they should prioritize in a season, but for some reason, some choose to target their closest allies when backed against a wall. As far as why, that depends on the season, but more often than not, targeting allies is oftentimes a bad call.

Andy Herren on Big Brother
Andy Herren on Big Brother

Do Stay Invisible When Power Players Are Feuding

Big Brother Season 15 was a season of constant feuds that became so personal and hate-filled that some Houseguests lost their jobs for the things they said. Andy Herren did a good job of laying low throughout most of the season, to the point the show barely featured him in episodes until it became apparent he could win. The big advice here is that when players are feuding, those who stay out of it can only benefit.

Danielle Murphee on Big Brother Season 14
Danielle Murphee on Big Brother Season 14

Don’t Let Someone Else Run Your Game

Few could fault Danielle Murphee for allowing Dan Gheesling to mentor her through Big Brother Season 14. Unfortunately, her willingness to allow the greatest Houseguest to ever play the game to dictate her strategy ultimately proved to be her demise. The minute Houseguests start thinking less about their game and more about helping others, they've already lost.

Rachel reacting to Angela's goodbye message on Big Brother
Rachel reacting to Angela's goodbye message on Big Brother

Do Use Your Goodbye Messages For Jury Management

Jury management is key to winning Big Brother, and goodbye messages are a great way to both win over jurors and explain your big moves in the game. A little kindness can go a long way, and considering jurors decide who wins, being spiteful is never a good strategy.

GinaMarie in Big Brother Season 15
GinaMarie in Big Brother Season 15

Don’t Don’t Have A Terrible Final Two Pitch

GinaMarie Zimmerman had a solid game an average Houseguest could spin for a win, but the Big Brother Season 15 player made one grave error. She made absolutely no effort to prepare for the Final Two questions, choosing instead to plead with jurors to vote for her because "I'm GinaMarie." She ended up losing the vote, 7 to 2 as a result.

Izzy in Big Brother on CBS
Izzy in Big Brother on CBS

Do Realize You Have To Lie To Win

Honesty is a trait that is rarely rewarded in Big Brother, and few if any winners can say they played a completely honest game. Half-truths and outright lies are a normal part of winning, and those who can't accept that are often among the first to leave in a season.

Miesha and Todrick in Celebrity Big Brother finale
Miesha and Todrick in Celebrity Big Brother finale

Don’t Piss Off The Jury

Making the jury bad is never a good decision, considering they hold the power over who ultimately wins Big Brother. Ivette Corredero might forever wonder if her spiteful goodbye messages meant the difference between winning and losing against Maggie  Ausburn, who had far kinder well wishes.

Jared and Blue in Big Brother
Jared and Blue in Big Brother

Do Find At Least One Person You Can Really Trust

The truly difficult part of Big Brother is that only one person can win, and yet, it's impossible to win alone. Every Houseguest needs at least one person they can truly trust in order to win, even if they ultimately want to betray them. Without that, winning the game is nearly impossible.

Cody and Derrick on Big Brother
Cody and Derrick on Big Brother

Don’t Take The Stronger Player In Final Three Even If They’re Your Ally

Cody Calafiore thought his loyalty to Derrick Levasseur would be the better game move for his Final Two choice over Victoria Rafaeli. That decision cost him the game, as Cody would've likely won over Victoria rather than his partner, who was the stronger player. Never take the stronger player when given the choice in Final Three, it never works out.

Nicole Anthony on Big Brother on Paramount+
Nicole Anthony on Big Brother on Paramount+

Do Be Prepared To Make Hard Decisions

Nicole Franzel and Cody Calafiore worked together all throughout Big Brother Season 22, but when it came time to choose his Final Two partner, he learned his lesson from Season 16. Cody betrayed Nicole and took Enzo Palumbo instead. Nicole later unfollowed him on social media, but I bet the prize money helped him overcome that hurt.

Frank on Big Brother
Frank on Big Brother

Don’t Win Too Much Too Often

Frank Eudy made the classic mistake so many athletic Big Brother players make. The Season 14 Houseguest won too many competitions too early and then was forced to keep winning to stay in the game. Statistically speaking, the odds will eventually play against a Houseguest getting picked for veto, which means there's little they can do at that point to prevent a backdoor nomination and eviction. Always wait to showcase athleticism.

Jackson Michie on Big Brother on Paramount+
Jackson Michie on Big Brother on Paramount+

Do Align With People You Genuinely Believe You Can Beat

Jackson Michie may be so controversial that Big Brother left him out of an ad celebrating its 25th anniversary, but he deserves credit for the Final Four alliance he created. Between Holly Allen, Nicole Anthony, and Cliff Hogg, there wasn't one that he couldn't beat in a competition, which made the final stage of the game a breeze once Tommy Bracco was out of the picture.

America and Cory in the hammock in Big Brother
America and Cory in the hammock in Big Brother

Don’t Go To the End With A Showmance

Cliff Hogg had a chance to evict Holly Allen in the Final Five stage of the game, which would've put Jackson Michie at a supreme disadvantage in the final weeks. He chose not to, and as a reward, was evicted by Jackson the very next week. Showmances will always look out for each other, even if the relationship doesn't last.

Wall Comp Big Brother
Wall Comp Big Brother

Do Get Comfortable With Being Uncomfortable

As miserable as it may sound, no one should ever feel comfortable playing Big Brother. In fact, if a Houseguest feels comfortable and they aren't the HOH, they're probably in danger of being evicted. The Houseguests who let their guard down are often the ones to go first, so constant vigilance is needed to win.

Frankie in Big Brother
Frankie in Big Brother

Don’t Take Any Potential Jury Vote For Granted

Too many Houseguests in Big Brother have lost the game by just one vote. It just goes to show that no votes should ever be taken for granted, even if the potential winner thinks they're the scum of the Earth.

Nicole Franzel on Big Brother
Nicole Franzel on Big Brother

Do Remember To Play The Game For Yourself, And Not Others

Numerous all-stars in Big Brother Season 22 fell victim to doing what Cody Calafiore dictated, and in doing so, they handed him the win. While compromise is a necessity of the game, no one should ever be making moves others dictate to them if it's not in their best interest to do so.

Matt and Jag on the bed
Matt and Jag on the bed

Don’t Waste Chances To Evict People With Strong Bonds

Two Houseguests can run a season of Big Brother, which is why it's always vital to spot that and take them out. It's easier said than done, of course, but anyone who notices a Final Two pact and doesn't take out the target afterward is a fool.