At 43 years old, the amateur Dibella was by far the oldest player at the table and a heavy underdog coming in but managed to outlast some of the best young pros in the game for the win.
To make his ROI even sweeter, Dibella won his seat in the event via a $1,000 satellite.
Runner-up and $1.5 million richer himself, thanks to a deal the two made heads-up, is poker pro Kyle “KJulius10” Julius, who looked poised to win the title several times himself but fell just short.
Tide Turns Three-Handed
Dibella had to get lucky several times throughout the day to survive but if there was a tipping point for the win it was a huge hand three-handed that turned the tide.
With short stack Faraz Jaka opening the betting to 625,000 with sixes, Dibella looked down at sevens and three-bet to 1.8 million.
Julius amazingly woke up with aces and flat-called.
Sniffing something was up, Jaka made a great fold with his sixes and they went to the flop heads-up.
Long story short, Dibella spiked a set, check-called 1.1 million from Julius on the flop and checked-raised a 1.1 million bet to 2.5 on a turn card that gave him a full house.
Julius shoved, Dibella called and the big chip lead was now his.
Jaka Gets Burned with K-J
Jaka, who held the chip lead for a very large portion of the tournament, had his up-and-down day end in third shortly after, earning $755,000.
Jaka's backbreaking hand also came three-handed as he fought for the chip lead with Julius.
With the chip stacks about even at 11 million, the two got into a pre-flop raising war with Jaka five-bet shoving K-J into Julius’ AK.
No help came and that was the beginning of the end for Jaka, knocking him down to under 2 million chips.
Canadians Take Home Over a Million
Canadian Xuan Liu, the first-ever female to make the PCA final table, was one of the favorites coming in but had to settle for fourth place and $600,000
Mark Drover, a Masters student from St John’s, Newfoundland who at one point in the tournament was down to just three big blinds, managed to hang on for fifth and take home $468,000.
Finishing in sixth was Anthony Gregg, whose appearance at the 2012 final table is the first time anyone has made two PCA Main Event final tables. Gregg was the runner-up in 2009.
Gregg took home $364,000 this time to bring his total earnings from those two final tables up over $2 million.
David Bernstein, also from Canada and who won a prize draw to earn his seat in the main event, finished seventh for $260,000.
Dutch pro Ruben Visser was the surprising first to bust, coming in fourth in chips but leaving in 8th.
To catch a full replay of the final table, check out PokerStars.tv or revisit the live updates in the PokerStars blog.
The final eight and their payouts:
1. John Dibella $1.775,000
2. Kyle Julius $1,500,000
3. Faraz Jaka $755,000
4. Xuan Liu $600,000
5. Mark Drover $468,000
6. Anthony Gregg $364,000
7. David Bernstein $260,000
8. Ruben Visser $156,400