Are you a Professional...

sjm

Older and Wiser
Silver Member
Remember Effren Reyes dropped out of nowhere as Cesar Morales and gave all the top Pros a run for their money.
Yes, but Mike Sigel beat him to a pulp consistently in tournament finals back then. Efren was a great player, but never the best rotation player in the world. In fact, if we're talking nine-ball only circa 1990, when all of these were in their primes, I'd rate Parica as stronger than Efren and both Varner and Strickland were stronger than Parica. Yes, Efren was probably no better than fifth best back then at nine-ball.

My opinion remains that it's really unlikely that someone who plays better than Filler is lurking in the wings. Nobody, Josh included, has ever arrived upon the pro scene and reached #1 immediately, not even Gorst, who won a world championship in his teens.
 

The-Professor

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Yes, but Mike Sigel beat him to a pulp consistently in tournament finals back then. Efren was a great player, but never the best rotation player in the world. In fact, if we're talking nine-ball only circa 1990, when all of these were in their primes, I'd rate Parica as stronger than Efren and both Varner and Strickland were stronger than Parica. Yes, Efren was probably no better than fifth best back then at nine-ball.

My opinion remains that it's really unlikely that someone who plays better than Filler is lurking in the wings. Nobody, Josh included, has ever arrived upon the pro scene and reached #1 immediately, not even Gorst, who won a world championship in his teens.
I'm guessing from this and other posts that you don't put as much stock into gambling matches as I would when evaluating the best rotation players in the world. I don't discount tournament victories, I think it is just a different measurement. I also don't discount players that play high stakes long race gambling matches. I think that shows a different measurement of "best rotation" player. So maybe it is best "Tournament" rotation player (probably Sigel).... and best "high stakes long race" money player.... somebody else.

For example, not many people would bet on Albin playing Shane in a long race of 10 for big money. Lots of people may take Albin in a tournament match. I don't think that is knock on either player, it just shows that some players are favored in different formats.

I think Efren would have beat Mike (I don't think Mike would have played in a big money long race), and did beat Earl in this format. Varner was probably a dog to Efren in this format (similar to the Strickland match) also if the money got right in my opinion.

I also think in the end it is very hard to evaluate these players against one another, at the top of the pile it may have been/be a who had the better day scenario.

I certainly agree, there aren't players lurking out there that are going to take on Filler/Gorst.
 

sjm

Older and Wiser
Silver Member
I think Efren would have beat Mike (I don't think Mike would have played in a big money long race), and did beat Earl in this format. Varner was probably a dog to Efren in this format (similar to the Strickland match) also if the money got right in my opinion.
Totally disagree. You're right that I place less stock in action matches, but I do know the history of who beat who in the biggest action spots. I'm guessing you've forgotten.

Varner went to the Philippines back in the early 1990s and beat Efren easily in a long money match for huge stakes. Certainly, Sigel, the best American player of the entire nine-ball era, was a better player than Varner and Sigel would have been favored over Efren in a race of any length, just as Jose Parica would have been. In a 20 ahead race, I'd have had my money on Parica over Efren seven days a week. Ask around if you really think Efren was a tougher out in nine-ball action than Parica.

Reyes' win over Strickland was in the late 1990's, a little past when Earl was at his best, and it was an exhibition, not a gambling match, and both got paid handsomely. That said, the race to 120, played in Asia, reached 117-117 before Efren won the last three racks. It was hardly definitive in separating the two.

By virtue of his mastery across all the pool disciplines and the fact that he played with more imagination than any pool player we've ever seen, Efren is rightly considered the best player ever, but he's not in the conversation for best ever nine-ball player. Top ten for sure, though.

PS Shane's record is far better than that of Albin in both action matches and in tournament matches. FYI, in their last three hookups in the majors, Shane beat him 11-2 at the US Open 9-ball, lost to him in the International 9-ball semis, and beat him in the final of the 2022 World Pool Championship. How Albin would have fared in ten ball is trivial, as this is the nine-ball era, and ten ball still rates a fringe game played only occasionally by many top pros, but I'd have always had my money on Shane in nine-ball, too.
 

The-Professor

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Totally disagree. You're right that I place less stock in action matches, but I do know the history of who beat who in the biggest action spots. I'm guessing you've forgotten.

Varner went to the Philippines back in the early 1990s and beat Efren easily in a long money match for huge stakes. Certainly, Sigel, the best American player of the entire nine-ball era, was a better player than Varner and Sigel would have been favored over Efren in a race of any length, just as Jose Parica would have been. In a 20 ahead race, I'd have had my money on Parica over Efren seven days a week. Ask around if you really think Efren was a tougher out in nine-ball action than Parica.

Reyes' win over Strickland was in the late 1990's, a little past when Earl was at his best, and it was an exhibition, not a gambling match, and both got paid handsomely. That said, the race to 120, played in Asia, reached 117-117 before Efren won the last three racks. It was hardly definitive in separating the two.

By virtue of his mastery across all the pool disciplines and the fact that he played with more imagination than any pool player we've ever seen, Efren is rightly considered the best player ever, but he's not in the conversation for best ever nine-ball player. Top ten for sure, though.

PS Shane's record is far better than that of Albin in both action matches and in tournament matches. FYI, in their last three hookups in the majors, Shane beat him 11-2 at the US Open 9-ball, lost to him in the International 9-ball semis, and beat him in the final of the 2022 World Pool Championship. How Albin would have fared in ten ball is trivial, as this is the nine-ball era, and ten ball still rates a fringe game played only occasionally by many top pros, but I'd have always had my money on Shane in nine-ball, too.
Couple of thoughts, and questions.

Don't you think that Efren wasn't in his prime when he played Varner in the Philippines? Did they ever play (gambling) when Efren was in his prime?

If Mike was favored against Efren in gambling format why didn't he make the game. I know that Efren had TONS of respect for Mike's game, but I think that Efrens backers would have set that match up in a minute if Mike wanted to play (Sincere Question)? I've always wondered why Mike didn't maximize the money he could have made playing more of the big money matches.

I didn't know the long race between Efren and Strickland was viewed as a simple exhibition. I was under the impression that there were much high stakes to the winner. I totally agree that this wasn't a margin of victory that showed any true separation, but that is kind of my point. At the top, it was a day in day out "whose the best".... obviously Efren proved he was Stricklands equal in that format.

If you add the 2016 final victory in the World Championships, I think that helps to make the case that Albin hangs pretty close too Shane in tournament play. And we agree that Shane is favored in any gambling rotation situation. In short, I'm making the point that in a tournament format Shane may be a slight favor, but gambling Shane would be a heavy favorite. To me, those types of match ups (I think the Efren-Sigel comparison is similar here) highlight two different versions of pool greatness.

I don't disagree on Parica, he may have beat them all, just a fantastic player for sure.

Always love hearing your thoughts friend.
 

Guy Manges

Registered
Couple of thoughts, and questions.

Don't you think that Efren wasn't in his prime when he played Varner in the Philippines? Did they ever play (gambling) when Efren was in his prime?

If Mike was favored against Efren in gambling format why didn't he make the game. I know that Efren had TONS of respect for Mike's game, but I think that Efrens backers would have set that match up in a minute if Mike wanted to play (Sincere Question)? I've always wondered why Mike didn't maximize the money he could have made playing more of the big money matches.

I didn't know the long race between Efren and Strickland was viewed as a simple exhibition. I was under the impression that there were much high stakes to the winner. I totally agree that this wasn't a margin of victory that showed any true separation, but that is kind of my point. At the top, it was a day in day out "whose the best".... obviously Efren proved he was Stricklands equal in that format.

If you add the 2016 final victory in the World Championships, I think that helps to make the case that Albin hangs pretty close too Shane in tournament play. And we agree that Shane is favored in any gambling rotation situation. In short, I'm making the point that in a tournament format Shane may be a slight favor, but gambling Shane would be a heavy favorite. To me, those types of match ups (I think the Efren-Sigel comparison is similar here) highlight two different versions of pool greatness.

I don't disagree on Parica, he may have beat them all, just a fantastic player for sure.

Always love hearing your thoughts friend.
YES... GUY
 

sjm

Older and Wiser
Silver Member
Couple of thoughts, and questions.

Don't you think that Efren wasn't in his prime when he played Varner in the Philippines? Did they ever play (gambling) when Efren was in his prime?
Great question. It's all about who you ask. Some say Efren was at his best in the earliest part of his career meaning 1985-90, but while it's possibly true, I have always had a hard time believing it just because I watched his game mature up close in the 1990-2005 period.
If Mike was favored against Efren in gambling format why didn't he make the game. I know that Efren had TONS of respect for Mike's game, but I think that Efrens backers would have set that match up in a minute if Mike wanted to play (Sincere Question)? I've always wondered why Mike didn't maximize the money he could have made playing more of the big money matches.
By then, Mike had far less need to gamble than his fellow pros because he had the lucrative Brunswick sponsorship, worth (my best guess only) in the $80-000 - $100,000 a year range. Because of that sponsorship, Mike always had a huge income from pool, as well as a substantial obligation to travel around doing exhibitions for Brunswick (just as Mosconi had always done while he was Brunswick's representative). That said, I don't think Efren's backers would have signed up for a match with a guy who had such a great track record against Efren in competition. It's not that they'd have felt the match wasn't winnable, but they'd have been looking for a better game somewhere else.

I didn't know the long race between Efren and Strickland was viewed as a simple exhibition. I was under the impression that there were much high stakes to the winner. I totally agree that this wasn't a margin of victory that showed any true separation, but that is kind of my point. At the top, it was a day in day out "whose the best".... obviously Efren proved he was Stricklands equal in that format.
Yes, it was an exhibition and, as you suggest, the winner got more money than the loser, but both had a big payday. It was a privately financed exhibition put together in Hong Kong, funded by some wealthy individuals. No question, Efren proved his mettle on that occasion. I saw Earl a couple of months later and he spoke highly of Efren's effort.
If you add the 2016 final victory in the World Championships, I think that helps to make the case that Albin hangs pretty close too Shane in tournament play. And we agree that Shane is favored in any gambling rotation situation. In short, I'm making the point that in a tournament format Shane may be a slight favor, but gambling Shane would be a heavy favorite. To me, those types of match ups (I think the Efren-Sigel comparison is similar here) highlight two different versions of pool greatness.

I don't disagree on Parica, he may have beat them all, just a fantastic player for sure
Albin is a future BCA Hall of Famer, but Shane's resume of titles is so far beyond that of Albin that there really is no comparison. Yes, in the latter part of Shane's career, Albin has played him tough, but as you note, at the very top, it can often go either way.

Overall, I think you've presented your case well. Thanks for a civil and informative exchange.
 
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raphcleary

Member
I'm guessing from this and other posts that you don't put as much stock into gambling matches as I would when evaluating the best rotation players in the world. I don't discount tournament victories, I think it is just a different measurement. I also don't discount players that play high stakes long race gambling matches. I think that shows a different measurement of "best rotation" player. So maybe it is best "Tournament" rotation player (probably Sigel).... and best "high stakes long race" money player.... somebody else.

For example, not many people would bet on Albin playing Shane in a long race of 10 for big money. Lots of people may take Albin in a tournament match. I don't think that is knock on either player, it just shows that some players are favored in different formats.

I think Efren would have beat Mike (I don't think Mike would have played in a big money long race), and did beat Earl in this format. Varner was probably a dog to Efren in this format (similar to the Strickland match) also if the money got right in my opinion.

I also think in the end it is very hard to evaluate these players against one another, at the top of the pile it may have been/be a who had the better day scenario.

I certainly agree, there aren't players lurking out there that are going to take on Filler/Gorst.

I'm guessing from this and other posts that you don't put as much stock into gambling matches as I would when evaluating the best rotation players in the world. I don't discount tournament victories, I think it is just a different measurement. I also don't discount players that play high stakes long race gambling matches. I think that shows a different measurement of "best rotation" player. So maybe it is best "Tournament" rotation player (probably Sigel).... and best "high stakes long race" money player.... somebody else.

For example, not many people would bet on Albin playing Shane in a long race of 10 for big money. Lots of people may take Albin in a tournament match. I don't think that is knock on either player, it just shows that some players are favored in different formats.

I think Efren would have beat Mike (I don't think Mike would have played in a big money long race), and did beat Earl in this format. Varner was probably a dog to Efren in this format (similar to the Strickland match) also if the money got right in my opinion.

I also think in the end it is very hard to evaluate these players against one another, at the top of the pile it may have been/be a who had the better day scenario.

I certainly agree, there aren't players lurking out there that are going to take on Filler/Gorst.
Reyes beat Sigel in a head to head match that was made up of 9-Ball, One Pocket and Banks. Sigel won the 9-Ball and Efren won the One Pocket and Banks winning it overall. This is the first time they really played a head to head match, although the same age this was in 1993 when Efren was on his way up, winning the US Open a year later and Sigel was not playing regularly due to Brunswick Sponsored exhibitions and was a year away from retiring. So this is probably not a fair way judging an outcome, Sigel did have a winning record against Efren in tournaments and virtually everyone other than Strickland. Stu is correct on this one, Sigel was the man in the 80s winning 85 of the 95 finals he played in garnering him the nickname "Mr Finals" at the time. Another player that Reyes really struggled with during the 80s was Buddy Hall, quoted saying "buddy you never miss!". Buddy beat Efren bad gambling 10-ball in 1985, someone quoted as saying "if it was a fight they would have stopped it!". Strickland said Buddy beat Efren multiple times during the 80s in gambling matches and Buddy was Efren's nemesis in tournament play too, once beating Efren 11-2 in the finals in 1987, missing just one ball. Not to mention Efren's lost to Rempe in the 1986 Resorts International 9-Ball Championship for £35,000, or his lost to Parica in the 1988 World pro 9-Ball Tournament for 41,000.
So yea Efren wasn't the man in the 80s but still went on to became the greatest. 👍
 
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sjm

Older and Wiser
Silver Member
Reyes beat Sigel in a head to head match that was made up of 9-Ball, One Pocket and Banks. Sigel won the 9-Ball and Efren won the One Pocket and Banks winning it overall. This is the first time they really played a head to head match, although the same age this was in 1993 when Efren was on his way up, winning the US Open a year later and Sigel was not playing regularly due to Brunswick Sponsored exhibitions and was a year away from retiring. So this is probably not a fair way judging an outcome, Sigel did have a winning record against Efren in tournaments and virtually everyone other than Strickland. Stu is correct on this one, Sigel was the man in the 80s winning 85 of the 95 finals he played in garnering him the nickname "Mr Finals" at the time. Another player that Reyes really struggled with during the 80s was Buddy Hall, quoted saying "buddy you never miss!". Buddy beat Efren bad gambling 10-ball in 1985, someone quoted as saying "if it was a fight they would have stopped it!". Strickland said Buddy beat Efren multiple times during the 80s in gambling matches and Buddy was Efren's nemesis in tournament play too, once beating Efren 11-2 in the finals in 1987 miss just one ball. Not to mention Efren's lost to Rempe in the 1986 Resorts International 9-Ball Championship for £35,000, or his lost to Parica in the 1988 World pro 9-Ball Tournament for 41,000.
So yea Efren wasn't the man in the 80s but still went on to became the greatest. 👍
Thanks for this post, which shows I don't remember all the case history of pertinence, but it tends to validate my recollection that, in nine-ball, Mike was the man back then, not Efren.

I have often contended that had Mike Sigel not retired early, he might well be remembered as America's greatest ever pool player instead of Mosconi. I think people forget just how amazing a player he was, and for what it's worth, he was just as good at straight pool as he was at nine-ball.
 
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logical

apart of their 'semi public'
Silver Member
It can matter. I was barred from a number of local state tournaments because they said I was a professional.

They defined this due to playing in tournaments like the US Open and tournaments with $300.00 or more in entry fees. It is often on posters "No professionals", something that can't really be defined.
Seems like they've had no trouble defining it.

Sent from my SM-G991U using Tapatalk
 

raphcleary

Member
Thanks for this post, which shows I don't remember all the case history of pertinence, but it tends to validate my recollection that, in nine-ball, Mike was the man back then, not Efren.

I have often contended that had Mike Sigel not retired early, he might well be remembered as America's greatest ever pool player instead of Mosconi. I think people forget just how amazing a player he was, and for what it's worth, he was just as good at straight pool as he was at nine-ball.
I completely agree that If Sigel had not retired at the age of 41, he would have been the greatest American player if not the the greatest player period. Yes Sigel often said that straight pool was his best game, and he may have been right, with more World Straight Pool titles in the modern era than any other player: 4 :- 1979, 1981, 1985, 1988.
But were getting off topic with the thread!!! 😂
 
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