Thursday, April 3, 2008

Efren Bata Reyes' Pool Cues!

Efren Reyes' Cues: Here is a very good read on Efren Bata Reyes' pool cues. The post was written by one of my good friends, Mark Verzo. It was originally published almost a year ago, April 7, 2007, in Thoughts in Binary - Mark's blog.

Mark, much thanks for letting me repost this very interesting read on The Magician’s billiard cues, my friend! Maraming salamat talaga,kaibigan!

What cue does Efren Reyes use?

This is a very popular topic in billiards forums, pool halls, and well, probably every pool player I know at least once became curious as to what type of cue the master uses. Maybe there’s something in his cue, or at least maybe, there’s something wrong in our cues that we can’t make the same shots he does. Nothing’s special with his cue for sure, and nothing’s wrong with ours either; “it’s him” is almost always the most popular end to this debate. But well, like most pool afficionados, especially equipment freaks, we can’t help but be curious.

I don’t personally know Efren. My closest encounter with him was “small talk” in Metropolis Mall some 4 years ago. Metropolis Mall is a popular tournament venue; the likes of Earl Strickland, Johnny Archer, Francisco Bustamante, have all participated in tournaments there. I did ask Efren something about his cue back then, but first let me just clear out that the answers to this post’s subject came from research - both online and offline. If there are discrepancies, feel free to comment at the end of the post.


Efren was under contract with Meucci in the 90’s as seen in this interview from Billiards Digest done on October 3, 1997. He states that it was 21 oz. and 13 mm. But there are claims in AZBilliards Forums that he had his Meucci tapered down to 12.5 by Judd Fuller. He played with the Meucci in the Color of Money race to 120, which he won, against Earl Strickland. The only thing I could remember from that video was that the cue had a white irish linen wrap. Also, in addition, the question I asked him in Metropolis Mall was “What happened to your Meucci?” He jokingly said, “I threw it away, it’s unlucky.”

Efren Bata Reyes Pool Cue ImagePampanga cue

This cue was made by Jesus “Jessy” Bundalian as claimed by Linds, a popular local cue maker, in his about page. It was what Efren used when he won the 1999 World Pool Championship in Cardiff, Wales. If you are from the Philippines, you’d probably remember Efren holding that cuestick in his lifesize San Miguel Beer posters. Apparently, there is another local cue that Efren used before the “Jessy” or “Jessie” cue; it was made by someone named “Boyet,” as said by a man called JoeyInCali in biliards forums. This article claims that Efren’s cue is more than 20 years old, was bought for roughly $10, and was offered $10,000 for it but he refused it; I’m just not sure if it’s the “Boyet” or the “Jessy.” JoeyInCali also said that the “Jessy” cue developed a rattle and was sold to a collector.

Efren Bata Reyes Cue Graphic

Judd cues

From the late 90’s to the present, Efren has been associated with Judd cues. Judd cues are made by Judd and Trudy Fuller. In the 1999 World Pool Championship this is what we could consider as his break cue. There were times that he used it to play as well. It was the JT1 model; birdseye forearm with cocobolo handle and decorative stitch rings. In Judd’s site, you could get a JT1 for roughly $700.00, but I think the wait time is around 12 months. He also switched shafts for this cue; in some pictures you could see that the shaft’s collar is darker but it is still a Judd shaft. I believe this cue is no longer with him.

Efren Bata Reyes Cue Image

He does have a new Judd. It features 4 high ivory points and 4 low ebony points with an ivory diamond in the middle, set on a birdseye maple forearm. There’s a thread in AZBilliards that shows the Judd up close; he wrapped part of this cue with masking tape in one tournament because it felt cold to his hands. They say he got this cue from someone named Alex. Here is a clear picture of Efren using the cue.

Efren Bata Reyes Pool Cue Graphic

Efren “Bata” Reyes signature series

There are Japan-made Efren Reyes signature cue sticks made by Cosmo. I believe this is the same company that makes Mezz cues. They have a site, but it’s in Japanese. In Singapore, I was able to try one out. It sold for around $100.00 back then. They say that it is made in Efren’s exact specifications. Here is a picture of him using the EBR-501 model.

Efren Bata Reyes Pool Cue Image
Common denominators

All of Efren’s cues are 60″ in length. This is probably the only sure common factor in his cues’ specifications that always surfaces around in discussions and interviews. Efren is surprisingly tall, for Filipinos at least. I would say he is around 5′10″. Definitely taller than 5′8″, my height, since I’ve stood beside him a couple of times, but not taller than 5′11″.

Most of his cues’ are wrapless. Meucci’s are notorious for having a protective varnish on top of the wrap. His “Jessy” cue also has varnish on the wrap. His Judd JT1 has cocobolo wood in the wrap area.

For tips, this post claims that he used Elkmaster for several years and then recently switched to Tiger’s Sniper tips. His Elkmaster’s however, were pressed on a vice to compress more.

Efren Reyes Pool Cue Graphic
Finally, a mop handle

The truth is, you can probably hand Efren a mop handle to shoot pool with and he would still beat us. There’s nothing special on Efren’s cues. There’s no one magic cue as well. He uses what feels right to him, sometimes surprisingly he switches cues or shafts in the middle of racks. He could make a ton of money endorsing a particular brand but if it does not feel right for him it might just affect his game. In addition, Efren is also a very superstitious person, he will let go of a cue if he feels it has become unlucky.

I hope this post has been informative. And again, feel free to post a comment if there are discrepancies. My online sources are all linked from this entry. Also, there is a thread in my billiards forum that is all about Efren’s cue. Click here and feel free to join; it’s mostly in Filipino but you can participate in English.

"The Anitokid loves pool cues!"

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Anonymous said...

I have witness that Efren does use the JT1 from Judd. I unwrapped it from the plastic myself and noticed the master's name was written on the bottom of the cue. It has two tapered shafts, estimate about 12.5 tip, and I don't know exacly what kind a tip that was on the cue. This happened about August of 2011. There was another one that was similar but the shafts were not tapered. I was playing with it and I fel in love with it just like when I first shot with my little AL 25 years ago. It's about 60" with 12.33cm tip. I have been plying with my sneaky and I had won more money playing than going to work 9 to 5. It was a verry dengarous hobby and thank God I was able to pull my self out. If you do have the skills then a nice and reasonable cue will help like the JT1. During my time, I had taken expensive cues from gambling and I end up selling them. I couldn't shoot with the other cues. For us regular players, the cue does matter but for the master himself, it does not matter.


Anonymous said...

I wanted to play with Efren's cue but "Mr. A" would not let me test it out.


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