The Matches That Made History

Best of Efren Reyes: The Matches That Made History

Best of Efren Reyes: The Matches That Made History

Nicknamed The Magician, for his unbelievable skills
Nicknamed “The Magician”, for his unbelievable skills
Photo by Doha Stadium Plus Qatar/ CC BY 2.0

It’s safe to say that Efren Reyes is one of the greatest in the history of the sport. Nicknamed “The Magician”, Efren is the winner of over 70 international titles. This astounding number of wins includes: fourteen Derby City Classics, four World Eight-ball championships, three US Opens, two World Pool Leagues and the 1999 WPA World Nine-Ball tournament.

Born in the Philippines in 1954, Efren grew up working at his uncle’s billiards hall, playing from a young age and even sleeping on the pool table. In the 80’s he made the move to the US, after establishing himself as a champion player in his homeland. Here, he began to garner worldwide attention for his skill and ability to win, plowing through the competitors—sometimes under a false name—and within a few years he would be recognized as one of the greatest living players in the world.

Here we’ll take a look at a few of the biggest wins that helped Efren secure his legacy as one of the greatest of all time.

Reyes vs Nick Varner

These two duked it out for the US Open Nine Ball Championship in 1994, and this was the match that really kicked off Reyes’ career. By defeating Nick Varner, Reyes became the first non-American to ever win the event. This was a tense match, with both players performing at the top of their game. However, towards the end, Reyes takes over the table, pots everything, and takes home the Championship. It’s well worth a watch.

Reyes vs Earl Strickland

Earl reportedly told Reyes You got very lucky
Earl reportedly told Reyes “You got very lucky”.
Photo by RailbirdJAM/ CC0 1.0

Two years later, at the 1996 inaugural Color of Money event in Hong Kong, these two crossed cues to determine the winner of the largest single event purse in pool history at the time: $100,000. This is one of the most famous and memorable events in billiards history, and it came at a time when both players were at the peak of their careers. Reyes won the three-day race-to-120 competition, 120-117. This match certainly deserves recognition as one of the great sporting battles of all time.

Reyes vs Mark Jarvis

The 1995 PBT World 8-ball championship match between legends Efren Reyes and Mark Jarvis was a close one, with Jarvis missing a winning shot near the end, allowing Reyes back on the table to clean up. Efren was ranked no. 1 at the time, having won the last 2 out of 3 tournaments he had played in. This win further cemented his legendary status. Also, check out this mind-blowing Z shot Reyes made during this tournament. Pure skill.
Reyes vs Niels Feijen.

This win happened in 2001 and made Reyes the winner of the International Billiard Tournament. A total of 700 players battled it out for the win at the Tokyo-based tournament, with Reyes and Feijen making it to the finals. Reyes took home the substantial $170k first prize after beating Feijen 15-7. Yet again, this was the largest prize pool on record at the time.

Reyes vs Marlon Manalo

Reyes took home this win at the first-ever WPA World Eight-ball championship, held in 2004, and became the first player in history to win the championship in two disciplines: eight-ball and nine-ball.

Reyes and Bustamante vs Strickland and Morris

This doubles-win where Reyes teamed up with Francisco Bustamante to represent the Philippines in the World Cup of Pool brought a lot of pride back to the Philippines. They defeated the USA team in the finals, sending Earl Strickland and Rodney Morris back home without a trophy.

Reyes vs Rodney Morris

As the last one we’ll look at, it’s fitting that this match netted Reyes a huge cash prize of £500,000. Again, this was the largest prize pot in history (at the time). Reyes took home the win at the IPT World Open Eight-ball Championship after defeating Rodney 8-6. It’s sad to say that the IPT had a few financial issues, and Reyes was unable to claim this money for a long time. However, with the number of previous championship wins under his belt, it’s safe to say Reyes would never have to go begging.

Efren Reyes, certainly, one of the greatest of all time
Certainly, one of the greatest of all time.
Photo by Doha Stadium Plus Qatar/ CC BY 2.0

A quick look at Efren’s career shows that he won… a lot! With 70 international titles in his chosen sport, to my mind he is one of the most successful sports personalities of all time. Added to the number of championship trophies on his mantelpiece, Reyes also achieved a lot of ‘firsts’ in the sport, cementing a place for himself in billiards history. His career took him all over the world and won him a lot of money, topping the AZ Billiards Money list more than 5 times. Not bad for someone who used to bed down for the night on a pool table in a billiards hall.

  • Title: Best of Efren Reyes: The Matches That Made History
  • Author: (Billiards Forum)
  • Published: 2/15/2019 2:42:58 AM
  • Last Updated: 1/26/2020 2:10:33 PM
  • Last Updated By: billiardsforum

Best of Efren Reyes: The Matches That Made History Comments

  1. JalalJalal from Dhaka, Faridpur on 12/31/2019 9:01:08 PM

    Efren Reyes is such a great player…

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