Efren Reyes has deservedly picked up the moniker “The Magician” off the back of his hugely successful career at the table. He is regarded as one of the greatest pool players of all time clocking up a 74% win record across his 350 matches and we take a look at some of his greatest battles.
Source: Chalky Sticks via Twitter
Hailing from the Phillipines, Reyes has won over 70 International titles and is a three time US Open winner. He’s been involved in some very tough matches but has remarkably prevailed against the odds in a huge number of these contests.
vs Earl Strickland (Color of Money)
Taking place in Hong Kong in 1997, the 120 challenge match was dubbed the color of money named after the Tom Cruise film. It took place across three days and $100,000 was on offer to the winner and still remains one of the largest prize pots in the history of the sport. The irrepressible Reyes emerged as the 120-117 winner to boost his career earnings significantly. Reyes has a terrific record against the American with the two players renewing hostilities in New York back in 2014 as part of a ‘made for TV’ battle which was shown on pay-per-view.
Strickland is another player who continues to compete on the circuit and still represents the USA in the Mosconi Cup. He was banned for three years from the tournament which has been compared to the Ryder Cup but made his return in 2013 and is likely to compete in the 2017 staging which gets underway at the beginning of December. Due to their poor record in the competition over the past couple of years, the USA have been chalked up as 2/1 outsiders in Paddy Power’s pool betting odds to end Europe’s dominance in the annual event.
Source: Pool Mania via Twitter
vs Nils Feijen (International Billiards Tournament)
In 2001, Efren Reyes dominated the Tokyo based tournament as many had predicted he would and bumped into the in-form Nils Feijen in the final. The hugely anticipated clash was a terrific spectacle with the Magician showing his class to emerge 15-7 winner and land the eye-watering $120k prize pot.
vs Marlon Manalo (World 8 Ball Championship)
Marlon Manalo was one of the quieter players on the circuit but managed to reach the World 8 Ball final where he hoped to beat Reyes. The competition was played on an American 9 foot pool table and was held in the UAE. Reyes became the first ever WPA World Eight Ball Champions taking the crown across two different disciplines and cementing his place as one of the greatest ever pool players.
vs Nick Varner (US Open Nine Ball Championship)
In 1994, Reyes made a name for himself by becoming the first non-american to win the US Open Nine Ball Championship. This was his first success in the prestigious tournament as he emerged 9-6 winner in Chesapeake despite the home fans cheering on his opponent.
Efren Reyes’ sustained quality and longevity has been one of the great sporting stories and he has been involved in many high-profile and entertaining affairs over the years. Budding pool players can learn plenty from the Magician especially echoing his laid back temperament which rarely leaves him flustered mid-match. He is a great example to everyone involved in the sport and although he has scaled down his commitments lately, his appearances continue to be a joy to watch.