Can I beat Efren Reyes?

I will be playing in the Seminole Pro Tour 10 Ball Event at California Billiards on April 29.  Since I don’t play very much 10 Ball, I figured it would be a good idea to practice the game.  Last night at the CBC I practiced my 10 Ball break to see if I could run a rack.  Well, I’m happy to report that miracles do happen.  On my very first break, I pocketed two balls, ran three balls, and then was able to make a fairly routine 5-10 combination shot for a run out.  On my second break, I got lucky again, made one ball, and was able to run the whole table out.  From that point on, it was all downhill.  I stopped the exercise after 12 racks, so my final tally was 2 break and runs in 12 attempts.  Not too bad for me.

I was feeling pretty good about my run out percentage, so I began wondering…suppose I get lucky and draw Efren Reyes in the first round of the tournament.  What are the chances that I could beat him?  On any given day, it’s possible that one player can get really hot and run some tables.  If the other player is really cold, it could be a rout.  Ok, let’s be honest – anyone who thinks they can actually beat Efren in a race to 9 format is either insane or at best delusional, but the mental exercise can still be fun.  What would it take for me to be able to beat Efren?  I decided to do a little analysis to figure out the answer.  Here are my assumptions:

  1. Efren is a better shot maker than me. (No, really?!)
  2. Efren is the better safety player than me.  (Duh!!)
  3. Efren’s lag shot and break are better than mine.
  4. Every component of Efren’s game is much better than mine.
  5. I completed 2 break and runs in a row last night (incidentally, my first in 10 Ball!)
  6. I have occasionally hit a perfect lag shot.
  7. I’m in trouble!

Well, so far, it’s not looking very good…but let’s not give up hope yet.  As Jim Carrey’s character Lloyd said in the movie, Dumb and Dumber, “…there’s a chance!”  If you’re one of the five people on this planet who are not familiar with this quote, you must see the video below:

Efren is a very tough opponent because he’s not going to miss very many shots, and if he can’t make a shot, he’s going to play a hellacious safe and get ball in hand.  The way I figure it, the only way I can beat Efren is to never allow him to get to the table.  How could I do that?  First of all, I would have to win the lag.  Secondly, I could never let him get to the table.  What are the chances I can do that?  Let’s look at this situation from a probabilistic standpoint.  If I could maintain an average run out rate of 16.66% (very unlikely), and could somehow win the lag (I figure maybe a 15% chance since I have home field advantage), here’s the chance of me running 9 straight racks and defeating Efren:

P(Michael>Efren) = (0.15)(.16666)^9 = 1.4884E-8

In layman’s terms, the chance of me beating Efren is about 0.00000149%.  That’s a REALLY small number.  To help you understand just how small that number is, let’s compare it to the probability of some real world phenomena. 

  1. P(Struck by lightning this year) = 1.736E-7 = 0.00001736%
  2. P(Dating a Supermodel) = 1.136E-5 = 0.00114%
  3. P(Spotting a UFO today) = 3.333E-7  = .0000333%

Turns out, it’s more likely that I’ll date a Supermodel, spot a UFO, and get struck by lightning before I beat Efren.  Hummm…the odds are not that good, but hey, I’ve still got a chance!!!!

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7 responses to “Can I beat Efren Reyes?

  1. well, you can always try to three-foul him…

  2. 3 foul Efren? Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!!! That’s a good one! 😉

  3. If you play your absolutely best game, including hard to counter kicks and safeties when required, get a a few rolls go your way, and Efren has a few misses because he doesn’t take your game too seriously versus his own, you could pull it off. So yeah, you have a chance. And you’ll need a mental flak jacket to resist those negative thoughts you might have going into the match and after you miss a few in the actual set and Efren starts plowing balls in one after the other.

    And if you lose, it’ll be a great experience and let you know how far you still have to travel to truly become a working professional.

    • If I got the chance to play him, and if all the planets aligned just right, it would be possible…but not probable. However, I would certainly put on my game face and give it my absolute best effort. You are correct…regardless of the outcome, it would be a great experience and show me just how much further I have to go. Thanks Michael for your comments.

  4. One of Effren’s (if not the only) weakness(es) is his break. It’s well known that his 9-ball break is not that great, compared to the other top 9b players out there. So, *if* you really put in some serious time working on small adjustments to your break, you *could* out-break him. As for shot making and safety play, well, you’ll need another 30 years to best him in that arena, sorry. hahaha

    10-ball isn’t nearly the run-out game that 9-ball is. Also – depending on the rules being enforced, you can enforce 2-way shots (unless they use the SBE rules wherein if you miss and hook the opponent, you get the shot back). I’d suggest working on 2 things between now and then: your break (which we talked about in a later post) and safety play/speed control. IMO, those are the 2 biggest aspects of 10-ball. Be prepared to play a lot of safeties off the 1 ball, judging by the DCC and SBE (not to mention the Earl/Shane match) it’s pretty rare to have a *good* shot at the 1 after the break; but making sure you can see it is very important.

  5. Just a point of order about Efren’s break. It is well know that he does not have a huge power break, how ever Francisco Bustamante ” one of the top pro breakers in the game” credits Efren with consistently making balls on the break, and having a shot. Just because he doesn’t break as hard as other top players, doesn’t mean his break is weak, or not as effective as other players. It’s just a different style. He does not string rack after rack together because he can’t make balls on the break and get shape.

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