A tiebreaker is a situation where two or more individuals share the same amount of votes at Tribal Council, with no other person receiving a higher amount. In this event, several instances may occur and have occurred over the course of the series.

Current Rules

Pre-Final Four

Unable to make a unanimous decision to break the tie, the Vinaka tribe is forced to take part in a lottery. The player that draws the odd-colored rock is sent home (Survivor: Millennials vs. Gen X).

In the event of a tie prior to the final four Tribal Council, all tied contestants will not vote, and the non-tied contestants will have to vote again, but may only choose between the tied contestants. Whoever receives the highest amount of votes will be voted out. Hidden Immunity Idols and Extra Vote advantages cannot be played at revotes, but depending on the specifics of the advantage, their effects may carry over into the revote.

If the revote does not break the tie, the host may declare a deadlock vote, after which he will allow the non-tied players to openly discuss who should be eliminated in front of the tied players and the jury. The decision has to be unanimous; otherwise, the tied players will be rendered immune, subjecting the non-immune, non-tied contestants to a lottery of rocks. The contestant with the odd-colored rock will be eliminated from the game instead.

If the revote breaks only part of the tie and the host declares a deadlock vote, only those contestants tied at the revote are considered to be tied. However, in practice, a deadlock will not be declared in this scenario.

If all but two contestants are immune, and those two contestants are tied, no rock draw would occur as nobody would be eligible to draw rocks. In this instance, the two tied contestants would compete in a fire-making challenge.[1] It is unknown what would happen if more than two players are tied in this situation.

If all but one contestant is either immune or tied, no rock draw would occur as only one person would be eligible to draw rocks. That person would be automatically eliminated.[2]

Final Four (Vote)

If a 2-2 tie vote occurs at the final four Tribal Council, there will be no official revote and the two tied contestants will compete in a fire-making challenge, where the winner stays and the loser is eliminated.

Final Four (Forced Fire)

Survivor: Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers modified the final four Tribal Council to automatically advance to fire-making without a vote. The winner of the Immunity Challenge would choose one other contestant to save, and the two remaining contestants would compete in a fire-making challenge.

As first seen in Survivor: Edge of Extinction, if the winner of the Immunity Challenge chooses to give away the Immunity Necklace, they retain the right to choose which other contestant is safe.[3] They cannot save the person they already gave the necklace to, as this would be redundant.

It is unknown whether the right to choose which other contestant is safe can be transferred.

Two-Person Tribe

If a pre-merge tribe enters Tribal Council with only two members, as happened to the Ulong tribe in Survivor: Palau, no official vote is held and the tribe goes straight to fire-making.[4] In this challenge, Stephenie LaGrossa defeated Bobby Jon Drinkard, sending the latter home.

It is unknown how this interacts with Hidden Immunity Idols or other advantages, as Palau predates the introduction of idols.

Null Votes

If a null vote (i.e. a vote where none of the votes cast count, possibly due to multiple Hidden Immunity Idols negating all votes) occurs, a vote restart would occur.

All of those who had gained individual immunity (e.g. those with the Immunity Necklace and the ones who played idols) during the regular vote are individually immune; this immunity cannot be passed before the restarted vote. This is a fully restarted vote with the non-immune contestants not considered "tied", so the non-immune contestants would remain eligible to vote; however, it is believed that idols and advantages cannot be played at a restarted vote. In the event that a restarted vote ties, it is treated the same as any other tie, even if everyone eligible to receive votes at the restart is part of the tie.[citation needed]

If there are only two eligible targets during a restart, those targets will be ineligible to vote, as they can only vote against each other. If there is only one eligible target during a restart, they are automatically eliminated, as they are they only person who can receive votes.

The first case of a null vote occurred in Survivor: Cambodia where Jeremy Collins and Kelley Wentworth each negated three votes against them with idols. The vote restarted, but yet another tie occurred, this time between Kimmi Kappenberg and Tasha Fox. The contestants declined to revote when offered, confirming that their votes would stay the same, prompting the host to declare a deadlock and start an open discussion. The situation was complicated by the potential elimination by default of Keith Nale, the only person who would be left without immunity in the event of a rock draw. After discussion, the tribe unanimously decided to eliminate Kimmi.

The second null vote happened in Survivor: Game Changers, where three idols and a Legacy Advantage (which functioned as an idol) were played; and with five players immune (including the wearer of the Immunity Necklace, Brad Culpepper), the only remaining person eligible to receive votes, Cirie Fields, was eliminated by default without the need to cast further votes.

The third null vote happened in Survivor: Winners at War, where Natalie Anderson and Ben Driebergen negated four and two votes against them with their idols, respectively, with Tony Vlachos having also played an idol. The vote restarted, with Denise Stapley and Sarah Lacina ineligible to vote, being the only eligible targets left out of six. The four voting castaways unanimously voted against Denise.

Jury Vote Tiebreaker

At the Survivor: Micronesia Reunion, host Jeff Probst confirmed that a tiebreaker rule is in place for a two-person Final Tribal Council, though he did not reveal to the audience what the tiebreaker was.

Prior to the Survivor: One World finale, Probst confirmed that in the scenario of a two-person tie in a three-person Final Tribal Council, the jury would revote between the two tied contestants.[5] He was also asked what would happen in the scenario of a three-person tie, but chose not to reveal this information. One World is the most recent season in which a three-person tie was possible entering the Final Tribal Council.

During the Survivor: Game Changers Reunion, it was further revealed that if the jury cannot break a two-person tie at a three-person Final Tribal Council, the second runner-up would join the jury to break the tie. Immediately after the votes are cast at the Final Tribal Council, the host would proceed to read the votes to reveal that a tie between the other two finalists had occurred, after which the second runner-up, now officially a member of the jury, will cast an impromptu deciding vote.[6] This rule was exercised in Survivor: Ghost Island, where Jeff Probst revealed the results of the vote on location instead of live. The second runner-up, Laurel Johnson, cast the deciding vote to break the 5-5-0 tie between Domenick Abbate and Wendell Holland, with the said vote being the only one kept as a secret and read live.[7]

Former Rules

In Survivor: Borneo, there would have been a tiebreaker challenge to break deadlock ties. It is unknown what the challenge would have been, as the only tie that occurred was broken on the revote.[8]

In Survivor: The Australian Outback and Survivor: Africa, if there is a deadlock tie, the castaway with more previous votes against them is eliminated. Votes cast at revotes are not counted as part of the previous votes tiebreaker. If none of those who are tied have previous votes against them, or if all of those who are tied have the same number of previous votes against them, the players concerned will partake in a tiebreaker challenge. It is presumed that this tiebreaker was in effect throughout the entire game, including the final four Tribal Council.

In Survivor: Marquesas, the rock drawing tiebreaker was in effect even at the final four Tribal Council. A final-four tie did occur in that season, with Kathy Vavrick-O'Brien and Neleh Dennis tied and Paschal English untied and not immune. To avoid automatically eliminating Paschal, production forced Kathy and Neleh to also draw rocks, but Paschal was ultimately eliminated despite never receiving votes throughout the entire game. After the season, the producers admitted that they made a mistake, as the tiebreaker was impossible to be applied fairly with only four contestants left.[9] Paschal's abrupt exit influenced how contestants voted in subsequent seasons, with contestants trying their best not to resort to a rock draw.

Prior to Survivor: Panama, with the exception of Marquesas, the revote stage took place even at the final four Tribal Council.

In Game Changers, the revote stage was removed as a one-season twist, immediately subjecting the contestants to the open discussion stage. However, this never came into play. Had there been a null vote under this rule with multiple non-immune contestants, the vote restart would still have occurred.

Tiebreaker History


See also


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