Survivor: 50 For 50 – Ken Hoang

Who should be invited back for Survivor’s milestone season?


Welcome to Inside Survivor’s 50 For 50, a semi-regular feature highlighting 50 former castaways who we think should be considered for a spot on Survivor 50. In a snake draft, the Inside Survivor team selected ten players each, with the only rule being they couldn’t have played more than twice.


Name: Ken Hoang
Age: 38
Season: Gabon, 2008
Finish: 5th Place


As one of the top Super Smash Bros. players, Ken entered the game as an outcast among people who were vastly different from him. Thankfully, he just so happened to land on one of the wackiest seasons of all time, giving him some room to play with other bizarre outcasts like himself. Though he started on an awkward foot by losing his ally and crush Michelle at the first vote, Ken was able to bounce back and survive the next round on the ill-fated Fang Tribe, going on to clutch their first immunity win in the third round and become Fang’s MVP.

The first tribe swap wouldn’t bail him out of Fang’s curse, though, as the new Fang would be just as terrible in challenges as the original, if not worse. But while the challenges weren’t in Ken’s favor, the chaotic gameplay of Gabon certainly was. With Crystal Cox as his unlikely number-one ally, they managed to take out several key players from the opposing Kota Tribe. First was Jacquie, then Ace, and finally frontrunner Marcus, leaving Fang with the numbers at the merge and Ken in the best position to win.


With the rival Onion Alliance falling one after another, Ken seemed destined to reach the end… but along came Bob Crowley to ruin his hot streak. The oldest man on the season proved to be a surprising challenge beast, and his fake idol schemes only made for more chaos. Believing the Onions had a legit idol, Ken planned a split vote at the final seven to potentially blindside Fang ally Matty. But when it was revealed to be a ruse, Ken’s game was exposed, his threat level was obvious, and only Crystal remained in his corner heading into the endgame.

With no other choice left, Ken played the villain role in his final days, intending to con Bob out of his immunity necklace and vote him out as the Black Widows had done to Erik just one season earlier. But Bob saw through Ken’s plans and kept immunity for himself, leaving the would-be mastermind vulnerable to be voted out after a hard-fought season of ups and downs.


While Gabon’s returnees haven’t been particularly impressive on their second attempts, I think Ken could be the one to put Gabon back on the all-star map. In such a messy season, Ken proved himself capable of managing big personalities and bonded with people of all different backgrounds to gain control of a messy season. Sure, it took some lucky swaps to get him there, but what great players haven’t been dealt a lucky hand from time to time?

Is Ken one of Gabon’s wackiest characters? Not particularly, but perhaps that’s the selling point he needs. He was one of the more sane, level-headed people on an absurd cast of buffoons, and if given the chance to play with people who grasp the game and want to play at his level, he could really shine strategically on a second season.


Ken ended Gabon on a fairly negative note, being a bit immature and unfairly bitter towards Bob for denying him the necklace as though he wasn’t about to snake the guy in cold blood. But it’s been a few years, and Ken’s probably grown as a person. Will he look back on his Gabon performance and cringe, hoping to redeem himself? Or will he still have a bit of that Gabon messiness inside him and bring some chaos to Season 50? Either way, there’s something to look forward to with a Ken return, so let’s not say goodbye to Gabon just yet.

Written by

Cory Gage

Cory is a writer and student from Texas. He's a die-hard Survivor fanatic who's seen over 50 seasons worldwide, hosted his own season in high school from scratch, and hopes to one day compete on the show himself.

2 responses to “Survivor: 50 For 50 – Ken Hoang”

  1. Yes for Ken Hoang. I would also like to see more villains. Invite Richard Hatch and other interesting character players, backstabbing players.

  2. They might as well put him on because we are just going to keep asking if they don’t! And Crystal too please…

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