In 1985, a young man by the name of Efren Reyes snapped off the Houston Open while playing with a $10 pool cue. Efren was completely unknown to any American player when he first came to the US, and in fact, he went by the name Caesar Morales.
After Efren won that event and signed with his real name… which would be the first time that people in the USA would hear of the name “Efren Reyes”–a name that would become unforgettable to anyone who met him on the table or had the pleasure of watching him in action.
Since 1985, Efren has been one of the most dominant players in the US, as well as the world. His amazingly fluid stroke, huge heart, amazing shotmaking skills, and incredible knowledge of all games are highly unique. His tremendous talent and relentless spirit gained him induction into the BCA Hall of Fame in 2003, and has made him an icon to those who love the game all around the world.
Fast forward to 2011, Efren “The Magician” Reyes, the soft-spoken loveable Filipino continues to play the game at the highest level. “The Magician” snapped off the $10,000-added 12th Annual US Open One Pocket Championships, produced by Cue Sports International (CSI) at the Riviera Hotel and Casino, in Las Vegas.
Feature matches in the event were streamed live by The Action Report (TAR), and brackets were provided on the web via CSI’s CueSports Tournament System (CTS) at www.ctsondemand.com. The Action Report is continuing to stream matches through the US Open 10-Ball Championships which is now underway. Visit www.theactionreport.com to watch it live.
Efren bested the full field of sixty-four players to capture the title and a $8,000 prize, undefeated. His path to the title saw him take wins over Ike Runnels 4-1, Marc Vidal 4-3, Jeff Carter 4-0, Brian Butler 4-0, and Corey Deuel 4-3 to go to the hot seat match. Known as one of the best, if not the best One Pocket players in the world, Efren has won the Derby City Classic One Pocket an incredible five times in its thirteen years running.
For those who aren’t familiar with One Pocket, is a game in which banking skills, concentration, and knowledge of strategic chess-like moves are paramount. The race format for this event were to four games in the winner’s bracket, and three games on the one-loss side of the bracket. The field for this event featured most of the world’s top One Pocket talent, including Scott Frost, Corey Deuel, John Brumback, Cliff Joyner, Brandon Shuff, Danny Harriman, Earl Strickland, and Chris Bartram.
This field created a dynamic mix of young breakthrough players along with a number of players helped build the tradition of the game over decades past. Included among these veterans of the game were two players who faced off in the elimination bracket: One Pocket Hall of Fame member Danny DiLiberto and Robert LeBlanc, aka Bobby Cotton (who recently released his book Confessions of a Pool Hustler) who would come out victorious in this match. Danny DiLiberto is one of the most legendary living players of the game, and even after recently recovering from a stroke, came out to compete in the event.
There were also a number of impressive performances from some of the young guns in this event, including Ohio player Danny Smith, who had a three-match run in the winner’s bracket before falling to Corey Deuel. Deuel had far from the easiest draw in the event, but defeated Jose Parica, Gabe Owen, Brandon Shuff, and finally Smith, but could not hold back Efren Reyes in the winner’s bracket final four.
After winning only his first two winner’s bracket rounds, Scott Frost was sent to the loser’s bracket by Chris Bartram. But, his run was far from over, as he went on to defeat Jeff Heath 3-0, Bob Herchik 3-0, Danny Smith 3-0, Brian Butler 3-2, and Earl Strickland 3-2, when he was matched up against “The Lion” Alex Pagulayan in the quarterfinal.
Astoundingly, Pagulayan had an even longer battle through the one-loss side. Following his loss in the first round to Jeremy Jones 4-0, “The Lion” charged through the one-loss side, eliminating Ronnie Wiseman 3-0, Mike Davis 3-0, Lou Figueroa 3-1, Cliff Joyner 3-0, Brandon Shuff 3-2, Chris Bartram 3-0, John Henderson 3-1, Corey Deuel 3-1, and Scott Frost 3-2.
While there were many young up and coming one pocket players, it would be the veterans who proved to excel into the finals of this event. One such veteran of the game, Chris Gentile from Chicago, would eliminate Pagulayan from the event in the semifinal.
Chris Gentile was impressive as he ran through the winner’s bracket in this event to go to the hot seat match, after defeating Richard Burns 4-2, Mike Davis 4-1, Rafael Martinez 4-3, John Henderson 4-0, Earl Strickland 4-3. It was then that Gentile was matched against Efren Reyes, where he lost by a score of 4-2 after Efren came out of the gate with a 3-1 lead.
Chris’s semifinal win versus Pagulayan proved him worthy of another chance to take on Efren Reyes in the finals… however, Efren asserted his reign as One Pocket King and defeated Chris in the single-set final match at 5-2.
Efren is continuing on in competition in the US Open 10-Ball Championships, where he will be taking on Dennis Hatch this evening at 8:30 Pacific, 11:30 Eastern time. Watch the action from the US Open 10-Ball live from www.TheActionReport.com.
View more photos from the US Open One Pocket Championships below.
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