Meet The Magician, Efren "Bata" Reyes (the GOAT of Pool) - The Cue Cave (2024)

There have been many billiard greats over the years – Willie Mosconi, Rudolph Wanderone, Luther Lassiter, Earl Strickland, Mike Sigel, Johnny Archer, Buddy Hall… the list goes on and on. But one pool master stands above everyone else – Efren “The Magician” Reyes.

Efren Reyes is a legend, and has been dominating on pool tables for over 40 years since his very first professional win back in 1978. He is also a huge reason why pool is so popular in the Philippines.

In this article, you will learn everything you need to know about the greatest pool player of all time, Efren Reyes. Not only about his life on the pool tables, but his personal life, financial success, and influence on the world of billiards. Enjoy!

Who is Efren Reyes?

Meet The Magician, Efren "Bata" Reyes (the GOAT of Pool) - The Cue Cave (1)

Efren Reyes was born in Pampanga – a province in the northern Philippines, in 1954 to parents Pedro Reyes and Romana Manalang. He was the 5th of 9 children, and grew up very poor.

Efren’s big break came very early, when his parents agreed to give him more opportunity by sending him to live with his uncle 50 miles away in Manila. This helped give Efren his first exposure to billiards, because his uncle owned a pool hall.

When did Efren Reyes start playing pool?

Efren Reyes started playing pool at 5 years old, soon after moving to Manila. It is well known that during his early years, he had to stand on empty soda cases and move them around when playing because he was so short. He even slept on a pool table most nights.

Reyes started winning money playing pool when he was 9, and earned the nickname “Bata” (or, “Kid” in Filipino). He continued to win tournaments and hustle the locals throughout the 1960s. By the mid 1970s, Reyes was well known throughout the Philippines and was already one of the top players around.

When did Efren Reyes turn professional?

Reyes played in his first professional tournament – the Philippines vs. Japan Pocket Billiards Competition, in 1978 alongside other Filipino pros Jose Parica, Rodolfo Luat, Jorge Dacer and Manuel Flores. He and his team won this event two straight years before the event ended.

Reyes would go on to have continued dominance through the early to mid 1980s in his home country, leading to his desire to play pool in the United States and make a name for himself on the world stage.

Efren Reyes arrived in the United States in 1984 for the first time. Though he was already a professional, Reyes’ very early days in America consisted of him hustling players to the tune of $80,000 in winnings in just several weeks (based on his account).

One of Reyes’ first tournaments in the US was the 1985 U.S. Open 9-Ball Championship – an event that would later catapult him into international fame.

Efren Reyes Championships

Meet The Magician, Efren "Bata" Reyes (the GOAT of Pool) - The Cue Cave (2)

Efren Reyes has won over 100 professional tournaments in his career across a variety of disciplines – 8-ball, 9-ball, one-pocket, rotation and cushion billiards. His versatility, creativity and knowledge of the game is truly one-of-a-kind, which is why he’s called “The Magician”.

While all wins are impressive, there are several major events that stand out on Efren Reyes’ resume:

  • U.S. Open 9 Ball Championship
  • WPA World 9-Ball Championship
  • Tokyo Open
  • World Pool League
  • WPA World 8-Ball Championship
  • Sands Regency 9-Ball Open

Let’s dive more into each event…

U.S. Open 9 Ball Championship

Efren Reyes finally became a household name in 1994 when he won his first and surprisingly, his only Open 9 Ball Championship. He beat American Nick Varner by a score of 9 to 6. Including this event, Reyes went on a run for the ages for 4 straight years, reaching the finals from 1994 through 1997.

Unfortunately, he lost to Reed Pierce (1995), Rodney Morris (1996), and Earl Strickland (1997) after his 1994 win. But, this run helped solidify Reyes into billiards royalty, and was a sign of things to come later on in his career.

WPA World 9-Ball Championship

Reyes won his first and only World Nine-Ball Championship in July of 1999, beating Chang Hao-Ping in the final by a score of 17-8. This event took place in Cardiff, Wales.

Tokyo Open

In 2001, Reyes dominated the Tokyo Open 9-Ball Championship, setting a record in the process. He won the $163,000 first place prize, which at the time set an all-time record for the biggest ever payout in a pool tournament.

In this event, Reyes bested Dutch player Niels Feijen in the finals by a score of 15 to 7.

World Pool League

It no longer exists, but the World Pool League gathered some of the best pool players in the world for a 9-ball tournament that took place in Warsaw, Poland for 7 straight years – 1999 through 2006. It was not actually a league, but rather a prestigious Invitational Tournament.

Reyes won the World Pool League 9-ball event two straight years – 2001 and 2002.

WPA World 8-Ball Championship

This event ran for 9 straight years from 2004 to 2012 in the United Arab Emirates. It’s surprising to most that this event no longer exists since 8-ball continues to be one of the most popular billiard games in the world.

Reyes won the inaugural World 8-Ball Championship in 2004, further solidifying himself as one of the best players in the world.

Sands Regency 9-Ball Open

One of Reyes’ most prolific events was the Sands Regency 9-Ball Open. In all, he won 4 championships – two consecutive wins in 1985 and 1986, then again in 1995 and 1999.

The Sands Regency Open was a well-known event that took place at the Sands Regency hotel in Reno, Nevada back in the mid-80s to early 2000s.

These were some of the biggest wins Efren Reyes ever had. While this is just a peek into his dominance, it gives us some perspective into just how good Efren was, and still is, at pool.

Efren Reyes vs. Earl Strickland

Meet The Magician, Efren "Bata" Reyes (the GOAT of Pool) - The Cue Cave (3)

One very popular topic in the billiards world is the fierce, but respectful rivalry between two of the greatest pool players ever – Efren Reyes and Earl Strickland.

If you aren’t familiar with Earl Strickland, we’ll provide a quick summary!

Earl Strickland is from North Carolina and started playing pool at age 8. Like Reyes, Strickland has also won over 100 titles in his career, and is known for his high energy and enthusiasm during matches (sometimes to his detriment). He has won the Billiards Digest Play of the Year Award 5 different times and owns 3 different world titles.

Head to head record

There is no official tally of who won more matches against the other. This is due partially to the lack of technology and match documentation early in their careers. That being said, it is believed that Strickland has more wins in head to head play against Reyes.

Earl Strickland’s notable wins against Efren Reyes:

Efren Reyes’ notable wins against Earl Strickland:

The Greatest Pool Shot Ever Made

You have likely heard about the famous Z Shot. When Reyes beat Strickland at the 1995 Sands Regency 9-Ball event, he did so in incredible fashion.

It was during the final game in a race to 13, and both players were all square at 12 wins a piece. It also took place right after a critical mistake from Reyes, making the shot even more miraculous.

The Efren Reyes Z Shot

Because words can’t do it justice, you need to watch for yourself. Efren was dead to rights behind the 6-ball and had to go all the way across the table, off of two rails (z-shape), and knock the 5-ball in the corner to continue his turn.

The Dr. Dave Billairds channel does a great job of explaining just how significant this shot was in this video.

Reyes has made many amazing shots in his career, but the Z-Shot is the greatest example of why Efren Reyes is known as The Magician.

Efren Reyes’ Career Winnings and Net Worth

Not all of Efren Reyes’ prizes were documented throughout his entire career, but from 1985 through 2022, he has amassed about $2.2 Million in tournament earnings. Efren Reyes’ net worth is thought to be anywhere from $2.5 Million to $5 Million.

There are likely endorsem*nt deals that we don’t have the full details of, as well as undocumented tournaments that Efren has won through the years.

Other Awards and Accolades

Outside of his tournament wins, there have been numerous other awards and achievements that Efren Reyes has earned throughout his career. Here are the most notable:

  • Billiards Digest Magazine Player of the Year – 1995
  • Billiards Congress of America Hall of Fame – 2003
  • One-Pocket Hall of Fame – 2004
  • Time Magazine Featured Reyes as one of “60 Asian Heroes” in 2006
  • Philippine Sportswriters Sportsman of the Year – 1999, 2001, 2006
  • Most money earned by a player in a single season (2005-2006) – $845,000

Where is Efren Reyes Now?

Efren Reyes still lives very close to where he’s from with his family in Angeles City – a city in the Central Luzon region of the Philippines.

Reyes still plays pool at the age of 68, and has not yet retired from pool. While he doesn’t play a lot of events these days, he attracts crowds wherever he goes, for good reason. Efren Reyes has been a god-send for the sport of pool, and has helped keep it alive all these years.

Earlier in 2022, Reyes showed flashes of his brilliance at the 2022 Iron City Open in Birmingham, Alabama by placing 2nd in the one-pocket division, and winning $1,050.

Reyes’ most recent win took place at the 2021 Seniors One-Pocket Classic in Houston, Texas. Reyes Won $3,600 at this event and defeated American James Davis Sr. to take the championship.

Wrap Up

To many, Efren Reyes is undoubtedly the greatest pool player ever, and this is proven through his wins in the prime of his career and his versatility.

Outside of his 9-ball success, he is also thought to be the greatest One-pocket pool player of all time. No one has been able to achieve the success between so many billiard disciplines, like Efren Reyes.

We encourage all fans of pool and billiards to watch any Efren Reyes videos they can get their eyes on. It is some of the greatest billiards footage you will ever see. We are very lucky to be able to experience his greatness in our lifetime.

As always, Happy Shooting!

Meet The Magician, Efren "Bata" Reyes (the GOAT of Pool) - The Cue Cave (2024)


Where is Efren Bata Reyes now 2022? ›

EFREN REYES TO REPRESENT PHILIPPINES AT 2022 WORLD CUP OF POOL IN ESSEX, ENGLAND. One of the games' greatest, Efren “Bata” Reyes will represent the Philippines alongside US Open champion Carlo Biado at the 2022 World Cup of Pool this June 14-19 at the Brentwood Centre, Essex, England with tickets from only £7.50.

What pool cue did Efren Reyes use? ›

This Limited Edition Cue was made in collaboration with the "Magician" Efren Reyes following his playing style requirements. It features Mezz Cues second to none craftsmanship providing a unique performance and solid feel.

Who is the number 1 pool player in the world? ›

CLICK HERE to sign-up for / renew your annual WPA Players License
RankPlayerTotal Points
1Sanchez-Ruiz, Francisco48215
2He, Mario39245
3Shaw, Jayson33965
4Wiktor Zieliński33570
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Does Efren Reyes have teeth? ›

Some said Efren Reyes. The disputes became fierce, he said, until people realized they had been snookered by the same fellow. It was on another trip to the United States that he finally rid himself of those awful nuisances, his false front teeth.

How much money do professional pool players make? ›

Professional Pool Player Salary

In reality, an intermediate-level professional player only earns around $50,000 annually. Top-level players usually earn more with annual salaries of at least $100,000. Their earnings largely depend on the number of sponsorships and endorsem*nts they have.

Who is the best pool player in the world 2022? ›

Well, here comes Shane Van Boening, from Rapid City. Age 39, with no interest in gambling, he's arguably the best American player ever to break a rack and ranked number one in the world for 2022. He also happens to be deaf.

What pool cue do most pros use? ›


PROFESSIONAL billiard players TRUST their game to Predator more than any other brand, including many WORLD CHAMPIONS ★ and top ranked players. We are proud to partner with our team of professionnal players and COACHES.

What is the most valuable pool cue? ›

The Intimidator Masterpiece Cue $150,000.00

The Intimidator Master Piece Cue is the most expensive pool cue ever sold.

What is the most powerful cue in 8 ball pool? ›

The Supreme Cue is the best cue in the game, with every pool skill only one or two bars away from max. Costing 1k Cash, this cue will set the player back a fair bit in real-life money unless they have been playing the long game and saving up the free Cash offered by the game on the home screen.

Who is the best female pool player ever? ›

Jean Balukas (born June 28, 1959) is an American pool player from Brooklyn, New York, and considered one of the greatest players of all time. At least through the 1990s, when Allison Fisher began her ascendancy, Balukas was widely acknowledged as the sole candidate for greatest female player ever.

Is playing pool a talent? ›

So, Is it a Skill or an Innate Talent? Well, it can be both. If you're someone that knows how to practice a skill until you can master it, then you have a good chance of learning to master the game in your own right. Skill can do enough to help you become that expert.

Who is the God of billiards? ›

Reyes is widely considered one of the greatest pool players of all time. A winner of over 100 international titles, Reyes was the first player to win the WPA World Championships in two different pool disciplines.
Efren Reyes.
Tournament wins
World ChampionNine-ball (1999), Eight-ball (2004)
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Which hockey player has lost the most teeth? ›

Duncan Keith lost seven teeth in all, three on the top and four on the bottom, when the puck came off Patrick Marleau's stick and hit him square in the mouth.

Who is the goat of billiard in the world? ›

Efren Reyes has won over 100 professional tournaments in his career across a variety of disciplines – 8-ball, 9-ball, one-pocket, rotation and cushion billiards. His versatility, creativity and knowledge of the game is truly one-of-a-kind, which is why he's called “The Magician”.

How much is Efren Reyes? ›

Efren Bata Reyes Net Worth: Efren Reyes is a Filipino professional pool player who has a net worth of $2 million dollars. Born in Pampanga, Central Luzon, Philippines, in 1954, Efren Reyes worked at his uncle's billiards hall in Manila and started picking up the game even though he was too short to reach the table.

What is a good pool player called? ›

Most billiard players are called exactly that - “billiard players”, or sometimes “pool players” or even “players” when the context is understood. A really good pool player, however, is often referred to as a “pool shark”.

What size do professional pool players play on? ›

Standard 8ft - (Playfield: 44" X 88") This is the most common size sold in the USA for homes and private residences. Tournament 9ft - (Playfield: 50" X 100") This is the full size the game of Billiards was invented on. It is still used in professional tournaments today.

What size do professional pool players use? ›

A tournament table is an 8-foot pool table. They are the best size to play on because the game is more challenging than playing on a 7-foot table. Most pool leagues will also use 8-foot tables. In addition, the majority of at-home pool tables are 8-foot tables.

Who is the best pool player 60 minutes? ›

World Number 1 Pool Player Shane Van Boening: The 60 Minutes Interview - CBS News.

What country is the best at pool? ›


What game do professional pool players play? ›

Of these, nine-ball is the most popular and the predominant professional game with ten-ball as the second-most prominent. There are many local and regional tours and tournaments that are contested with nine-ball. The World Pool-Billiard Association (WPA) publishes the world standardized rules.

Is a lighter or heavier cue better? ›

A heavier cue will tend to create more CB speed for a given stroke effort. A heavier cue might also be easier for some to keep on line during the stroke, but this is a very individual thing. More weight can also help prevent stroke deceleration.

What is the hardest cue tip? ›

How hard are some tip brands relative to others?
  • SAMSARA JUMP – 86.0.
  • BLACK DIAMOND – 81.0.
  • SUPERPRO – 81.0.
  • WB USA – 77.0.
  • BLUE ELF – 76.0.
  • LePRO – 74.5.
  • TALISMAN – (M) 70.5.
  • TAD – (M) 75.0.

What is the best cue brand? ›

Here are some the Predator best pool cues for INTERMEDIATE AND PROFESSIONAL players.
  • High-End Pool Cues.
  • Sport Pool Cues.
  • P3 Pool Cues.
  • Revo Pool Cue.
  • BK Rush Break Cues.
  • Air Rush Jump Cues.

Is a bigger cue tip better? ›

It is generally recommended that newer players start with cue tips that are large (about 13 mm) in diameter. The greater surface area of the cue tip can help you land even those tough shots more easily. As your pool skills advance, you can experiment with smaller cue tips and master that sidespin.

Is a smaller cue tip better? ›

It should always be the same diameter as your shaft – no smaller. A smaller tip will give you more control over spin, but may also cause more miscues. A larger tip will give you less spin control, but a more powerful, consistent shot. With American cues, the standard size is usually around 12 or 13mm.

What weight cue do pros use? ›

Q: So, which pool cues should I consider? What is the standard cue weight? A: The pros use cues which weigh 19 to 19.5 ounces. Available pool sticks range from a low of about 15 to as much as 27 ounces, an extra half-pound over the pro cue.

What cue ball do professionals use? ›

The Aramith Pro Cup Cue Ball features: Official standard size 2 1/4" Made out of the most advanced Aramith Pro-Cup phenolic resin. Used worldwide in virtually all official tournaments.

Is a heavier break cue better? ›

the bottom line is that a heavier cue will not always mean a more powerful hit or break. In some cases, it may even create less power depending on how much force you can create. So, when selecting a cue, go for the weight that feels the most comfortable to you.

How to get legendary cue for free? ›

Yes you can…. If you have 8 ball pool cash then you can buy surprise boxes and open them you will get legendary cue pieces …. once you got the 4 pieces of the same cue you will get a legendary cue.

What is Efren Reyes doing now? ›

Reyes lives in Angeles City, with his wife Susan and their three children. He considers balkline to be his favorite cue sport, and plays chess as a hobby. Despite admitting that his skill has declined by 2019, games involving him still continue to draw in big crowds in the 2019 and 2021 Southeast Asian Games.

Is Efren Bata Reyes still rich? ›

Efren Bata Reyes Net Worth: Efren Reyes is a Filipino professional pool player who has a net worth of $2 million dollars.

How rich is Efren Reyes now? ›

The highest paid pool player, Efren Reyes, has a net worth of $2 million.

How good is Efren Reyes? ›

Efren Reyes has won over 100 professional tournaments in his career across a variety of disciplines – 8-ball, 9-ball, one-pocket, rotation and cushion billiards. His versatility and knowledge of the game is truly one-of-a-kind, which is why he's called “The Magician”.

Who is the best pool master in the world? ›

Ralf Souquet holds the record for winning the World Pool Masters the most times: six.

Who is the best 9-ball player of all time? ›

Earl “the Pearl” Strickland is an American professional pool player who is considered one of the best nine-ball players of all time. He has won numerous championship titles and, in 2006, was inducted into the Billiard Congress of America's Hall of Fame.

Who is the greatest 8 ball pool player? ›

1. Willie Mosconi. An all-time champion of the sport, Willie Mosconi's name was among the first to be introduced in the American Hall of Fame for Billiards Congress.

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