John Dibella holds off pros to win 2012 PCA title

Posted by Steve Ruddock on Jan 14, 2012 Posted in EPT News, Tournament News | No Comments »

There were plenty of big names sitting at the final table of the 2012 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure (PCA) Main Event, but by the end of the day it was stockbroker John Dibella who would hoist the trophy and walk away with the $2 million first-place prize-money.

Dibella’s run to the championship started to pick-up speed when he doubled through Faraz Jaka during four-handed play thanks to a Four on the flop that saw his Pocket 4’s overtake Jaka’s Pocket Jacks. Not long after Jaka would get some revenge, flopping a gutshot with K/Q and turning a straight to crack Dibella’s Pocket Aces. Jaka looked to be cruising; especially after eliminating Xuan Liu even though he was dominated holding A/6 to Liu’s A/7.

The wheels came off for Jaka after getting into a pre-flop raising war with Kyle Julius and finding himself once again dominated, this time holding K/J to Julius’ A/K, and for Jaka there would be no miracle flop –no straights, kicker pairings, or flushdraw— to save him this time as he finished the tournament in 3rd place.

The elimination of Jaka soon after left Dibella and Julius to play for the title but not before Dibella took over the chip-lead from Julius: Jaka opened the action with Pocket 6’s, Dibella 3-Bet with Pocket 7’s, and Julius smooth-called with Pocket Aces (maybe trying to induce a shove from the short-stacked Jaka. Unfortunately for Julius, Jaka folded his mid-pocket-pair and the two big stacks saw a flop of 8-7-3, giving Dibella a set and won a huge pot to take over the chip-lead.

At the beginning of heads-up play Dibella held an 18 million to 13 million chip advantage, and unlike last year’s heads-up battle between Chris Oliver and Galen Hall there wouldn’t be too many fireworks this time around. Dibella methodically wore down Julius, and on the last hand was able to pick-off a desperate bluff by Julius for the win.

The win was by far the 43 year-old Dibella’s largest ever, his previous best being a $16,000 min-cash in the 2008 PCA. And in the process he managed to thwart both Faraz Jaka’s attempt at his first major tournament title, and Xuan Liu who was looking to become the first female winner in PCA history (Liu now has a 3rd place finish at the 2011 EPT San Remo and a 4th place finish at the 2012 PCA Main Event on her increasingly impressive resume).

Here is a look at the complete final table payouts from the tournament:

1. John Dibella – $2,000,000

2. Kyle Julius – $1,275,000

3. Faraz Jaka – $755,000

4. Xuan Liu – $600,000

5. Mike Drover – $488,000

6. Anthony Gregg – $348,000

7. David Bernstein – $260,000

8. Ruben Visser – $156,400

*According to Dibella and Julius made a deal during heads-up play that saw both players receive $1.5 million and left $275,000 for the winner. Julius was apparently able to use his reputation and Dibella’s inexperience to broker a fairly good deal for himself.

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