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John Dibella Wins the 2012 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure Main Event

Amateur Turns $1k Satellite Win Into $1.775 Million


John DibellaJohn Dibella got into the 2012 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure Main Event by winning a $1,000 buy-in satellite. He survived five days to enter the final table as one of three amateur players remaining, in the middle of the pack, with three big-stacked professionals directly on his left. He left as this year’s PCA champion, topping the 1,072-player field to earn $1,775,000 after a deal heads-up and 2,400 Card Player Player of the Year points.

Prior to winning this massive title, the New York stock-trader had just $69,896 in tournament earnings to his name. Dibella’s biggest score coming from a tenth-place finish in a 2006 WSOP $1,500 no-limit hold’em event.

Dibella survived to four handed play with a roughly 5.3 million in chips when this crucial hand arose. The incredibly active Faraz Jaka raised with the JDiamond SuitJClub Suit only to have Dibella move all-in with the 4Spade Suit4Club Suit. Jaka had started the hand with around 10 million, and was an 80% favorite to eliminate Dibella and take a solid chip lead. The 4Heart Suit had other plans, however, as it rolled off the deck on the flop to give Dibella a set and a dominating lead in the hand. Jaka did not improve, and took a massive blow to his stack as Dibella began his rise.

Faraz JakaThe rollercoaster ride continued, with Jaka mounting a comeback and eliminating Xuan Liu, the first female player to ever make the PCA final table, in fourth place. Jaka then played a massive pot against Kyle Julius, five betting all-in with KHeart SuitJDiamond Suit and losing a roughly 20-million chip pot when he failed to beat Julius’ ADiamond SuitKClub Suit. Julius could not hold onto the lead for long, as he ran pocket aces into Dibella’s flopped set of sevens, sending a roughly 18-million chip pot Dibella’s way.

Eventually a short-stacked Faraz Jaka was all-in with AHeart SuitJSpade Suit against Julius’ KSpade Suit10Club Suit, which promptly made two pair on a KHeart Suit6Spade Suit2Club Suit10Diamond SuitAClub Suit board to send the pro to the rail in third place for $755,000.

Heads-up play began with Dibella holding a solid chip lead over Julius. The prize pool still had $3.275 million left to be paid out, and the two players decided to take $1.5 million each and play for the remaining $275,000. Dibella won the majority of the hands heads-up, increasing his lead to more than three-to-one, at which point the final hand came up.

Kyle JuliusWith blinds at 200,000-400,000 and a 50,000 ante, Julius raised to 825,000 on the button with the 9Diamond Suit6Spade Suit. Dibella defended his blind with the 6Club Suit5Club Suit and flopped a flush draw after the AClub SuitQHeart Suit3Club Suit rolled off. Dibella checked-called a 725,000 bet from Julius and the turn brought the 8Diamond Suit.Both players checked, and the 10Club Suit hit the river filling Dibella’s flush. He lead out for a bet of 1 million, at which point Julius seemingly attempted to represent the flush himself by moving all-in with just nine-high. Dibella quickly called however, with his winning flush securing his first ever tournament title and a $1,775,000 first-place prize.

Here is the complete payout and Player of the Year points info from the final table:

Place Player Earnings POY Points
1 John Dibella $1,775,000 2,400
2 Kyle Julius $1,500,000 2,000
3 Faraz Jaka $755,000 1,600
4 Xuan Liu $600,000 1,200
5 Mark Drover $468,000 1,000
6 Anthony Gregg $364,000 800
7 David Bernstein $260,000 600
8 Ruben Visser $156,400 400

Photos courtesy of PokerStars and Neil Stoddart.



9 years ago

the definition of a professional is someone who makes his or her living soely from playing poker