russell knew from watching previous shows that they always hide the idol near something big, usually a hollowed out tree, bridge , near the tree mail ect. they don't put it out alone. so he just looked in the obvious places next to known objects, objects that are easy to find. like a big bridge or an odd looking tree ect. its not rocket science. and he is not smart. its a laura / russell fight now. and I hope russel will go home soon. maybe all of those people who now like russel have forgoten his true nature but I haven't forgoten how he treats people and disregards them. he has not changed but he will slip up and make a foolish mistake soon.
if survivor still had an exile island russell would not have been so lucky because it would have taken a group leader to send him there, and I doubt if a group leader would have done that and if they did they would have done it just once not twice.
russell dumb luck came from the producers hiding it in the camp. instead of on a island that they would have to win a challenge to go there and find the idol.
and they are telling the survivors that the idol is back in the game which means its hidden in the camp. so russell is not so smart he just going on what was told to them.
russell is already a millionaire, he said he only came on the show to show people how easy it was to win survivor and that everyone else all the other players were dumba$$ and didn't know how to play the game. he didn't need or want the money he just wanted to show people what a stupid game it was and how easy it is to win it. people are forgetting what he has said and done in the begining, he has not changed and he will not when. in a spoiler it said he gets very far in the game. but it doesn't indicate that he wins at all.