Efren “Bata” Reyes is without a doubt the greatest billiards player to ever hold a cue.
He can play the game to the professional level in many genres, such as 8 ball, 9 ball, 10 ball, Snooker, One Pocket and 3 Cushion billiards. Any game that requires a cue stick and billiard balls, he can dominate.
Bata has won so many championships. Not all can be listed here, but here are a few:
2011 US Open One Pocket Championship
2010 Derby City Classic Master of the Table
2010 Derby City Classic Fatboy Challenge 10-Ball
2010 Derby City Classic Nine-Ball
2009 World Cup of Pool
2006 IPT World Open Eight-Ball Championship
2005 IPT King of the Hill Eight-Ball Shootout
1994 US Open Champion, etc.
“Efren Reyes is a living legend in his home country of the Philippines where he is one of their highest profile sportsmen. When you arrive in the Philippines, one of the first sights you see is a huge picture of Efren Reyes. His 1999 World Championship victory live on TV, elevated pool into the major league and saw Efren Reyes become a national celebrity, starring in TV advertisements for San Miguel Beer and McDonalds among others. Efren Reyes is the 2002 International Challenge of Champions winner, the 2003 Mid-Atlantic 9-Ball Open Champion, the 1999 World 9-Ball Champion, and was the 1999 Player of the Year. He was also inducted into the Billiard Congress of Americaís Hall of Fame in 2003.” ~ InsidePool Magazine.
Reyes is known worldwide and is considered by many serious players and champions as the best the game has ever seen.
From 2002 through 2006, Reyes dominated the money championship tournaments, earning a whopping $1,280,529!
In 2006 alone he earned a total purse of $644,960 in winnings, showing that he is one of best pro pool earners of all time.
“In December 2005, Reyes won the IPT King of the Hill 8-Ball Shootout. Reyes won a record-breaking $200K for first place by beating fellow Hall of Fame member Mike “the Mouth” Sigel two sets to none (8-0 and 8-5).” ~ Wikipedia /AZ Billiards (information from: http://www.azbilliards.com/people/228-efren-reyes/ )
I once watched an Accu Stats video where Reyes broke and ran five racks in a row on Kunihiko Takahashi, 1998 WPA World Nine-ball Champion. Commentator William Incardona speaks of how Reyes is possibly the greatest of all time in that video, and I believe Reyes bats 1000 in the Pat Fleming Stat system for determining shot make percentage.
(The video for this can be purchased here.)
But what really makes Reyes the greatest of all time to ever wield a cue is the fact that he’s so good at so many cue sports. He’s an excellent One Pocket player, 8 ball player, 9 ball player, Carom billiards player, as well as snooker player. Legend has it that Reyes stepped up to Ronnie O’Sullivan, who is perhaps the greatest snooker player that has ever lived, bet him and won! That’s a crazy story of the type of level Reyes can play at for high-stakes money.
“Gambling from a young age, Reyes played three cushion billiards in the 1960s and 1970s. After establishing himself as a winner, he was discovered by promoters. This gave him the opportunity to compete in big time tournaments.” ~ Wikipedia
Another thing that makes Reyes the best is the fact that he has been winning pro-pool events from 1985 until the present day, showing his longevity in the game, which few other players can claim. This is a span of 29 years, which is incredible in itself.
Reyes’ game may have dropped off a bit of late, however he has shown he can still win taking the 2014 Derby City Classic One-Pocket championship.
Considered to be the greatest of all times by many are players like Ralf Greenleaf, Willie Mosconi, Earl Strickland, Ronnie O’Sullivan, Steve Mizerak, and the like, however none have played so well in so many different billiards arenas. The aforementioned players specialized in their individual disciplines however, and Reyes plays them all.
Posterity will see Reyes as one of the modern pioneers of the sport of billiards, and will reign as the all time greatest player that has ever lived in my opinion.
Photo: Wikipedia Editor: Dana Gornall