Efren Manalang Reyes, born August 26, 1954, popularly known as Efren Bata Reyes and nicknamed The Magician, is a Filipino professional pool player. A winner of over 70 international titles, Reyes is the first man in history to win World Championships in two different disciplines in pool.
Besides his World titles he is also a 14-time Derby City Classic champion, a two-time World Cup champion, and a two-time World Pool League champion. By defeating Earl Strickland in the inaugural Color of Money event in 1996, Reyes took home the largest single event purse in pool history. Many analysts, fans, and current and former players consider Reyes to be the greatest pool player of all time.
Reyes was born in Pampanga in the Philippines in 1954. He moved to Manila with his family at the age of 5. In Manila, he worked as a billiards attendant at his uncles billiards hall, where he started learning the various cue sports. Because he was not tall enough to reach the pool table, he played while standing on Coca-Cola cases that he moved around. At night, while he was dreaming of playing pool, the pool table was his bed. Reyes is often referred to as Bata, which is Tagalog for Kid, because there was another older pool player named Efren when he was young. To distinguish between the two, he was referred to as Efren Bata.
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. During the 1980s, when Reyes was considered a top-class player in his homeland but not yet internationally recognized, he went to the U.S. to hustle. Popular legend claims that Reyes earned $80,000 in a week; this feat made him a folk hero back home.
*Picture from insights.looloo.com; Bio from wikipedia.