Michael Yarish/CBS
Steve Helling
April 17, 2014 01:45 PM

LJ McKanas was playing a strong game on Survivor: Cagayan and seemed like a lock to make the finals. But after his alliance turned on him, he was blindsided and went home on Day 25.

McKanas, a 34-year-old horse trainer from Boston, talks to PEOPLE about the blindside, and breaks down the gameplay of all the contestants left in the game.

That was an amazing blindside. Tell me in your own words what went wrong.
I trusted Tony too much. When you’re dealing with an individual like him, there’s no way that you can predict what he’s going to do. In my opinion, he was the only one who was really playing the game out there. It cost me; being blindsided is the worst!

Yet seemed to trust him completely. Why?
I thought I had bought his loyalty when I used my immunity idol for him. I felt like it would make our alliance concrete. Our alliance had decided to go to the final 6 together, and I believed that was going to happen.

So were you planning on taking Tony to the end?
To the final six. My final three would have been Trish and Jefra. Or maybe with Kass and Jefra. I think that I could have won with either of those combinations.

So you would have voted out Tony at some point?
Yes. I thought he was the only one out there that could have beaten me. You have to throw the first punch, and he did!

So was it a good move?
I don’t know if you should throw the punch this early, because now he has pissed off a bunch of people who are supposed to be his closest allies. We’ll see how that works out.

You had another move. Tasha approached you, and you shut her down.
Hindsight is 20/20, but I couldn’t figure out what circumstances she could have possibly offered me that would have been worth it.

But in Survivor, shouldn’t you entertain any possible scenarios?
I probably should have entertained her, but if I had been seen going off with her, it would’ve been a risk. Tony was already paranoid. So if he thought I was plotting with the other side, he would have voted me off. I thought she couldn’t offer me anything to make the risk worth it.

RELATED: Stephen Fishbach’s Survivor Blog: Tony Ousts His Biggest Threat

Tasha has a secret scene in which she gloats about it …
She got her ‘ha ha’ moment, didn’t she? If she had made spearheaded the move to vote me out, then she could point every finger she has at me. But she just went along with another plan, so she probably shouldn’t be pointing fingers. But it’s okay. She was thrilled that she wasn’t going home that night, and I can’t really blame her.

Ok, give me a one-sentence assessment of everyone left in the game. What do you think of Trish?
She’s an honest player, playing an honest, loyal game.

He is the only one actively playing the game of Survivor out there. He can talk himself in and out of different situations. That has to be respected.

What about Woo?
He does whatever Tony tells him to do. He’s riding coattails

How about Kass?
She makes a lot of emotional decisions out there, and burns a lot of people. She’s very difficult to read.

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She has been playing under the radar, and letting me catch the bullets. Now that she’s gone, and she doesn’t have anyone, she’ll have to make a big move to stay in the game.

And Spencer?
He’s playing a great game. He’s been through a lot of adversity, probably the most in the game. He’s putting up a good fight.

In my opinion, he’s not really playing the game. He’s defeated. He shows a spurt of life now and then, but not enough to really make decisions.

Last one. What about Tasha?
She’s a good player, and clearly an immunity threat. She has been through a lot in this game, and I feel like she’s going to fight every day as much as she can.

Would you do anything differently?I wish I had won, but I don’t really regret anything. I had a great time.

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