Dan Gheesling, Manhattan Digest, Big Brother
Credit to: Wikia

Big Brother 16 concluded last night with front runner Derrick Levasseur easily beating fellow “Hitmen” alliance member Cody Califoire 7-2 last night, only losing votes from waste of a houseguest JaCosta and America’s Favorite Houseguest and hopefully new Soap Opera Stud Donny.  This season was highly different from last regarding minimal controversy from the players inside the house (besides the insanely arrogant and over the top Frankie, who is only getting this sentence in this article as his ego is already blown up as is) yet was criticized for it not being a very good season strategically.  The game drastically changed this year with its “Battle Of The Block” format and having four houseguests go up each time which made the game that much more interesting, yet became very bland and boring when it was the same people getting wittled away each week and there never really being a power struggle in the house that didn’t favor The Bomb Squad.  That being said, Derrick has been credited with the likes of Dan Gheesling and Will Kirby as one of the best players of all time for his efforts this summer, which leads me to the purpose of this article.

Big Brother has had sixteen seasons and over 100 houseguests all vying for one thing- to win the $500,000 dollar prize and be the last one to leave the house.  Question is, who are the best players to ever play this game?  Not everyone who has played this game the best has actually won.  Heck, there are even people who didn’t even make it into the top 2 who have played remarkably.  Some BB winners have made it to the end based off of luck/other people getting them there (Jordan, Maggie, Andy) and others have relied on brain power and will power to get them to the winners circle (Will, Jun, Ian, Rachel).  Overall though, who has played the best games in BB history?  Take a look at who I think were the best, from 10-1.


Jun Song, Big Brother, Manhattan Digest
Credit to: Gold Derby

10- Jun Song- BB4 (Winner)

Some may find this choice to be a bit controversial as there was quite the public disdain for Jun and runner up Allison Irwin this season, as well as the other bitter houseguests who felt forced to vote and congratulate them.  I however, think the opposite.  BB4 was really the first season that I got into back in 2003, and knew pretty much from day one that Jun was going to win.  How?  Jun pretty much did a phenomenal job explaining herself when the jury of 7 interrogated her in the final episode.  A floater yes, but she knew that ultimately she relied on herself to get to the end.  She knew exactly when to ditch a particular group and rely on the one person that was vilified more than anyone else in the house, Alison, to do her dirty work.  She also played her ex Je very well in the game and when the time came to get rid of him she made the first move upon her first HOH win.  Smart, savvy and aware of her surroundings, Jun really did play the most intelligent game of BB4, even using something like cooking as a way to interact with the houseguests and see what kind of habits they have to determine what kind of person they are like.  Brilliant.

Janelle Pierzina, Big Brother, Manhattan Digest
Credit to: Wikia

9- Janelle Pierzina- BB6 (3rd Place), BB7 (3rd Place), BB14 (Who cares)

I love Janelle.  Janelle is to Big Brother what Peanut Butter is to Jelly.  She is a legend for so many different reasons and in my opinion paved the way for future women in the game like Rachel Reilly & Danielle Donato to name a few.  If I’m honest though, her shining season was BB6 as BB7 I felt the network carried her through the entire time as she generated a larger audience and BB14 she really wasn’t playing at all.  BB6 Janelle was an absolute beast and is part of the reason why the Big Brother houseguests are a lot more blunt and honest with each other as opposed to earlier seasons where things were a bit more sullen and quiet.  She really was a fighter in her season against quite possibly the most hated alliance in Big Brother History (The Friendship) and made it to the final 3 by consistently winning competitions and intentionally pitting the other side against each other, like the infamous April vs. Ivette fight.  Had Ivette done the right thing and brought Janelle to the end, Ivette would’ve probably still won but Janelle to millions of her fans will always be known as one of the best for her amazing ability.

Derrick Levasseur, Manhattan Digest, Big Brother
Credit to: fansofrealitytv.com

8- Derrick LeVasseur- BB16 (Winner)

The most recent winner and quite impressive if I must say so myself.  Being touted as the new Dan/Dr. Will, Derrick played a pretty much flawless game by always staying in the background of the drama and never making himself a target throughout his 3 month stay inside the Big Brother house.  He allowed other hot headed people like Frankie, Beast Mode, and Devin for example make hot messes out of themselves and huge targets while he laid pretty with his “Robin” Cody and watch everyone implode, leading him to victory.  Whereas Dan and Will in previous seasons got themselves into some pretty hot water with a lot of the houseguests, that didn’t seem to be the case for Derrick.  Him winning against Cody, who if Cody took dumb dumb Victoria to the end would’ve won the damn thing, was easy as it didn’t take much convincing for the jury to hand him the $500K prize.  Would love to see him come back one summer if they ever do All Stars again to see how he would pair up with other greats in a season that didn’t have many outstanding HG’s.

Rachel Reilly, Manhattan Digest, Big Brother
Credit to: Cartermatt.com

7- Rachel Reilly- BB12 (9th Place) BB13 (Winner)

Rachel Reilly is pretty much like Licorice.  You either love it or hate it.  Rachel is one of the most polarizing cast members the show has ever had, and really made her mark in both seasons.  A threat from the get go in season 12, Rachel’s bold and brash personality pretty much clashed with everyone in the house minus her boo and showmance at the time Brendan.  After being blindsided in her season 12 eviction, Rachel came back with a vengeance in Season 13 with her partner Brendan.  With Brendan evicted not only once but twice, Rachel really showed what kind of an all star that she came to be by playing the game fantastically by herself for the first time in a season and a half.  She battled bitter enemy Danielle and made it past some pretty strong newbies in Kalia and Adam and won the game 4-3 against the basic Porsche (sorry girl, weak candidate for F2).  Rachel was gutsy, admirable and smart and proved not only once but twice why she is one of the best to ever play this game.

Nakomis Dedmon, Big Brother, Manhattan Digest
Credit to: Wikia

6- Nakomis Dedmon- BB5 (4th Place) BB7 (13th Place)

A random choice per se, but Nakomis should’ve been the winner of BB5 over the people who came after her- Diane who lost the game due to her fascination with a pretty boy, Cowboy (Michael) who used his family the entire game to get to where he is, and Drew who really just used Diane to get to the end without really having to do much.  Nakomis was the smartest person in BB5, and took avoiding eviction in week one and storming all the way to the final four pretty much unscathed.  Just like Jun, she really just relied on herself and not the benefits of a big group (The Four Horseman) or a love connection (Diane/Drew) to get where she is.  Her unique look and personality originally scared people off but once a good core group of people got to know her (Will, Adria, Natalie, Karen) they viewed her as the leader which ultimately got them past a ton of other players.  Also she came up with the brilliant “Six Finger Plan” to get rid of her biggest nemesis in the game that season, Jase, something that is still viewed as one of the best game moves in BB history.  Smart.

James Rhine, Manhattan Digest, Big Brother
Credit to: Wikia

5- James Rhine- BB6 (Seventh Place)  BB7 (Seventh Place)

If Caleb from this season of Big Brother wants to call himself “Beast Mode” he should really go back about 10 years to see who really was the first person to perfect what it meant to be a beast in the house.  With the Power Of Veto still being somewhat of a new thing on BB at that point, James took the opportunity to win it 5 times in his season, setting a record at that point for veto wins from one houseguest.  His back was against the wall every week, due to his physical ability in challenges but also his master manipulation to go in between both alliances and do it spectacularly yet very obvious at the same time.  Some may blame James for the downfall of his alliance due to how sneaky he is, however he is one of the reasons why Big Brother 6 was such a remarkable season, and why he was no doubt a shoo in for the All Stars the following summer.

Ian Terry, Manhattan Digest, Big Brother
Credit to: Wikia

4- Ian Terry- BB14 (Winner)

Oh Ian, the little engine that could.  When I saw the cast for Big Brother 14, I would’ve never guessed that the Tulane chem student would’ve even come close to being the winner, let alone beat who some consider as the greatest Big Brother player of all time (more of that later).  Ian’s presence in the beginning of the game was quiet for the most part, only getting highlights for his social awkwardness and crush on fellow houseguest Ashley.  It wasn’t until his masterminded the amazing plan to get out another Big Brother legend- Mike Boogie (Season 2 & Season 7 All Stars Winner) where Ian really started to shine and become one of the biggest players of the season.  Being one of the biggest members of The Quack Pack, he sealed the deal for many of his arch rivals including juiced up Ronald McDonald Frank.  He famously battled Dan in the final 2 and held his ground, easily beating him mainly due to a mixture of a bitter jury and seeing Ian for what an amazing player that he is.  Would love to have another All Stars season with Dan and Ian in it.  Maybe next summer?  Who knows.

Manhattan Digest, Will Kirby, Big Brother
Credit to: Wikia

3. Will Kirby- Season 2 (Winner) Season 7 (Fourth Place)

People are gonna be freaking floored that I put Will this low, however I have my reasons.  Yes Will did it first, and some say did it best.  Having no Power of Veto, once you were on the block- that was it.  You weren’t getting taken off unless you chose to eject yourself, so that aspect made it that much harder to keep yourself in the game.  Will convinced everyone in that game that if you take him to the end, you will win.  Could he have done it against Monica, Hardy or Bunky (3rd, 4th and 5th place)?  Not sure.  But Nicole was an easy win due to the amount of enemies she had on that jury and the convincing voices of Mike Boogie and Shannon to name a few.  Winning 6-3 in the end, Will played practically a flawless game minus his multiple nominations and over the top behavior inside the house.  Had it not been for Janelle listening to Erika’s loud mouth in Big Brother 7, he could’ve won All Stars the same way he won BB2.  Let’s hope we haven’t really seen the last of Will Kirby on BIg Brother.

Danielle Reyes, Manhattan Digest, Big Brother
Credit to: Wikia

2. Danielle Reyes- Season 3 (2nd Place) Season 7 (6th Place)

I hands down am a firm believer that Danielle Reyes changed the way that Big Brother has been played for the past 11 seasons.  Why?  Because she was so damn good in her season they had to start using a jury/sequester house so the houseguests didn’t know everything and anything that is going on.  I also believe that she is the best player to have NEVER won this game (Even Will Kirby uttered that).  Danielle ruled season 3 with an iron fist, and really used one of the best strategies to have ever been used in this game- the reliance of one other person and herself.  It is how Jun won, it is how Evil Dick won season 8, Dan won against Memphis and countless other victories in this game called Big Brother.  Danielle brilliantly strategized taking down each alliance in the game- the original 6, the cartel, the boys vs. the girls, Eric/Lisa, Roddy/Chiara, then knocking out Marcellas when she had the shot and Amy to get to the final 3.  Who was the person in her way?  Lisa.  Danielle’s biggest mistake was not winning the final HOH nor Jason, yet the problem with BB3 was that all the houseguests got to go home to their families and friends and see all the diabolical things that Danielle was doing and saying, resulting in the most bitter jury this show has ever seen.  Lisa won 10-1, which many see as completely unfair as she practically got a free ride to the end based off of other people’s game.  Danielle played the game flawlessly and should’ve won it fair and square.  Just like Will in All Stars, she also fell to the annoyance and presence of Erika, but that season had its fair share of problems from the get.  Danielle has said on her Twitter in recent years that she would never play the game again, but I dream of a day where she re-enters the game and wins something that should’ve happened twice before.

Dan Gheesling, Manhattan Digest, Big Brother
Credit to: Wikia

1- Dan Gheesling- Season 10 (Winner) Season 14 (2nd Place)

I don’t think there needs to be much said here to describe really why Dan is the best player in Big Brother history.  Easily making his way in Season 10 to victory by making his wingman Memphis do all his dirty work while he worked behind the scenes?  Done.  Coming back into the game as a coach in BB14 and commanding the strongest alliance that season?  Sold.  PERFORMING YOUR OWN FREAKING FUNERAL ONLY TO RISE FROM THE DEAD AND GET VETOED OFF THE BLOCK?  Yup.  Dan is a fucking baller, and would’ve beat anyone in the final 2 if it wasn’t for Ian.  If Julie Chen, whom I love, ever decides to really leave BB, I think he would make a fantastic replacement host as he is the savviest, smartest and most intelligent player this show has ever seen or will see.  All Stars for a third try?  We can only hope!

Agree or Disagree?  SOUND OFF! 


  1. It’s difficult to say that another person’s opinion is wrong, but…

  2. Nakomis and James R higher than Derrick? enough said, the author is clueless.

      • The author is spot on!

    • agreed…. Derrick top 3 hands down ..nice list ..if ur a non bb watcher

    • I don’t know who the author is, but I wonder if they even watched this season. To rank Derrick lower than people like Nakomis is unbelievable. SMH

  3. I think first and foremost getting the winning 1st place win of the money should be the number 1 qualifying, then the others who got out 2nd 3rd, etc. because a point of being good at a game is winning it, not how you played it completely. So I agree with part of list in that who is in it, I don’t agree with the order of it.

  4. I would disagree with Jun and Nakomis and would replace those two with Evil Dick and Hayden Moss (although I do not like when someone like Hayden who was not a fan of the show wins).

  5. I like Dan, sure. He is a great player, but not the best. Having nearly every member of the jury hate you is not a success or a good strategy. The object of the game is to WIN. To WIN you must have a majority vote. Dan left the jury so bitter that it cost him the win. If he was as great as everyone made him out to be, Dan would have wooed the jury (much like this seasons Derrick) and won the game against Ian. The funeral was one of the best plays ever, I do give him that. But he does not deserve the #1 spot here.

  6. how ridiculous is this…

  7. Ian should not even be on this list, he played a horrible game.

  8. WTF….James Rhine ahead of Janelle. He played the same seasons and she beat him both times. I would agree with most of the players but the order is all wrong. I would also add Matt Hoffman, he came up with the Brigades’ strategy. There is no way Hayden and Lane would have made it to final two without Matt’s strategy!

  9. I think Evel Dick should be in the top 10, especially over Nakomis. He was good at what he did, and won what he had to, to not get evicted. He made some enemies in the house, didn’t kiss butt or float along, he got himself to the final two and very much deserved the win.

  10. I loved Nakomis too but if you remember, she wasn’t fascinated with Cowboy…he was her half brother.My absolute favorite however is Dr. Will.As for Derrick, he had 15 seasons to watch and execute someone else’s game. Plus, I was bored stiff this season.

    • You are infatuated with Will because CBS has brainwashed you. You were bored this season because the game was better controlled than ever before by Derrick every step of the way. After watching all BB seasons, Derrick is top 1 or 2 players ever, end of story.

      • I agree Derrick controlled the game perfectly. However, there was never any “I wonder what is going to happen” kind of suspense and it was boring. Plus, Derrick’s lying in the diary room is a big no no for me. That’s half the fun and it was just more Derrick mist. I’ve just watched seasons 2 and 7 again and I DO love Will.

  11. I mean, James better than Janelle? No way

  12. Derrick 8, will 3, Dick missing. Article is a joke.

    For the above poster everyone else in the house had 15 seasons to watch as well. Derrick specifically said he didn’t use Dan’s strategy because it would be too easy to spot so I don’t know who you think he was trying to be like.

    • Well, if Derrick said it, it must be true. To me he’s a lot like Maggie season 6.

  13. Second sentence mentioning Frankie J. Grande: don’t even like him and yet tied with most BB competition wins and like him or not great social game, period.

    • I don’t consider someone to have played a great social game if the majority of the house was insulted by and can’t stand you and the viewers can’t either.

    • Frankie does NOT have the most comp wins. counting BoB wins is like counting food comp wins. like cmon really? They only way to compare HoH’s this season with other seasons is to only count who remained HoH which he only did 3 times. So at most you could say he won 6 comps that count but then there was a rewind where BB said that week never happened and he went home. Sounds like he won 4 comps to me far from the record.

      FYI Vic also doesn’t have the record, only remaining noms after BoB is over count.

  14. TAKE RACHEL OUT. She is one of the worst players ever! She finished in 9th place her first time and BB helped her win the second time. She had no social game whatsoever. Her sole strategy was to win competitions, aka no strategy.

  15. IMO, No way Nakomis is higher than Derrick. She doesn’t even belong on the list. I also disagree with Dr. Will’s low placement. For me, Dan, Dr. Will & Derrick are top 3, although i go back and forth as to the order. Danielle is a solid 4. Rachel 5. Jun 6. Ian 7. Janie 8. James 9. Evel Dick 10.

  16. Derrick played a good game, but he never had to fight his way out of a tight corner. His big brother life was never in jeopardy. He also had other people throw compititions to make it easier for him. Even when he said he could win a competition, he didn’t. I would like to see him play a game not only with his mental skills, but also with physical skills and the ability to get his self out of a tight situation like Dan did. Then I would call him a great player. The people in the house this year were not necessarily the brightest people when it came to game play. I would like to see him go against some of the better players that have played this game. I agree with the writer, the best players have not always won big brother. I do agree derrick deserved to win, but he is not the best all around player.

    • No he hasn’t had to fight out of a tight corner, however, the block should be considered a tight corner! don’t forget he was never nominated…even with the BOB twist!

  17. I agree, about Dan being #1… Even the spot Ian in was good. But I believe that Derrick DEFINITELY should have been in the top 3 and Janelle should have been higher up too.

  18. I wonder why Hayden Moss, Mike “boogie” Malin, and Evel Dick aren’t included. Seems like the other has over looked winning as a key asset to being ranked as best BB players of all time.

    • Author not other***

  19. No to almost all of the major decisions on this list.
    Here is my off-the-top-of-my head list, having watched all seasons, all shows and gotten the live feeds for a mere half of them.

    1) Will Kirby *@#1
    2) Dan Gheesling *@#1
    3) Derrick Levasseur #1
    4) Danielle Reyes#

    (Folks can argue about whether or not to flip Dan and Will. The spot goes to Will, for me, because he could manipulate anyone in the game, all-star or not. It is uncertain whether or not Dan is capable of that because he hasn’t been up against the likes of e.g. Reyes.)

    After 4, the names on the list become a bit more flexible.
    5) Dick Donato *#1
    6) Jun Song – #1 The only true female master other than Danielle. Her existence, along with Will’s rubber duck bathtub number, are why the redefinition of floater irks me so.
    7) Mike “Boogie” Malin *@1#
    8) Hayden Moss 1#
    9) Ian Terry *@1
    10) Andy Herren 1
    11) Maggie Ausburn 1
    12) The Meow @#
    13) Nakomis *

    Full confession, I did the list up to Nakomis because, and ONLY because, I want the females to get another spot.

    *Would also appear on the greatest characters list
    @ Would also appear on a list of former players who could endure the production a better version of BB than Endemol currently does.
    # Would be dangerous (a threat to win) in any cast
    1 Winner

    If a person could ONLY win the game, no matter the cast, if they win lots of comps, have their personal acquaintances cast, or get directly told in the diary room what other players are doing, then that person cannot belong on a greatest list, no matter how high they place. Such cases should be taken as evidence of flaws in the game design, not greatness of the player. Why? Every reality show has dumb comps. Big Brother, Survivor and a handful of other shows make the dumb comps serve the purpose of influencing a distinct, larger game. You wouldn’t call a card player a great CARD PLAYER for drawing an Ace, or getting given an Ace via a dirty cut of the deck. You’d call them lucky, or a great cheat. Similarly, you should not call a BB player great if they did not demonstrate a great ability to play the larger game that the dumb comps are there to influence.

  20. Derrick sux

  21. Replace Ian with Jason Guy(BB3)–Danielle Reyes’ wingman–and I’ll agree with your list 100%. Love Ian, but he was not great shakes as a player. his win was more luck than skill/strategy

  22. This list is NOT in any order, is it?? Please tell me no….

  23. How is Evil Dick not on this list? If you’re going to have s list with Ian, who won because of a bitter jury, and say his big game move was getting Mike out who had checked out because his bromance Frank went home. ………..I don’t get it. ED should have gotten a special award just for enduring Amber and Jameka…

    Sorry, no list is complete without him, but I’d love to hear your reasons why.

    And other than Dan, no one has ever played a better game than Derrick. People said it was boring but Derrick played the game so perfectly he did everything he set out to do, we just knew about it.

    Fun to debate tho, thanks for putting it out there.

    • Gundisalvus Kuno

      For the record, Mike left before Frank. He was still trying to stay in the game, but I would say that he never wanted to play the game in the first place, he always wanted to coach.

      The reason that I don’t have Dick on my own list is because we never got to see him play the game straight up. The one time he played, he was aided by America the entire season and would have likely been voted out if Eric was playing for himself. That’s what’s keeping him off for me.

      I agree that Ian should not be nearly that high, but he was solid. He ranks himself nowhere near the top 10 and he’s one of the more trusted BB historians out there. It would be interesting to see him play another time.

      As for Derrick, I think the game he played was the greatest game of all time. I love Dan and I think he is the best ever, but he got himself into trouble at points. And as great as it was to see him get out of those situations, Derrick was good enough to never get into any situation to begin with. I have him right behind Dan and Will as he needs to play another time to be on their level

  24. WRONG!! Dr Will is number 1 Big Brother player period. Dr Will did it when there was no such thing as a power of veto. He invented the strategy of throwing all competitions to appear weak and or just to piss off the other houseguests so they would be on peanut butter and jelly or slop. Also told people to their face that he would lie to them and if they believed him it was their own fault. They still trusted him. Manipulated others to do the dirty work. Amazing social player and manipulator. Proved that you dont have to win comps to win Big Brother.

  25. This is a terrible list, but the author knows that to sucker in someone like me into commenting :’) Wilfully manipulated.

    Anyway…the BEST is different to GREATEST, I cannot emphasize that enough.
    In terms of the best:
    1. Derrick Levasseur – there’s no way anyone played a better game than Derrick.
    2. Dan Gheesling
    3. Dr. Will
    4. Everyone else.

    Greatest Player:
    1. Dr. Will Kirby
    2. Dan Gheesling
    3. Derrick Levasseur

  26. Derrick, Dan, Dr. Will, Danielle Reyes, Hayden Moss, Janelle, Mike Boogie, Evel Dick, Andy Herren, Jun.
    – I think they’re lock for the 10 best players. I hate to say this but maybe Maggie deserves a mention.

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