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Stroke of Genius

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Video provided by Accu-Stats Video Productions

Derby City Classic — One-Pocket Division

Player: Efren Reyes
Event: Derby City Classic — One-Pocket Division
Location: Elizabeth, Ind.
Date: January 29, 2020

Efren Reyes showed up at this year's Derby City Classic after officially retiring and taking all of 2019 off. (The guy who has collected more cash in prize purses than any player of the last 30 years didn't win a dollar last year.) While the Magician was back in action, he seemed more intent on enjoying the moment and less worried about any rust that may have accumulated on his cue.

A six-time winner of the Derby City Classic One-Pocket division, Reyes entered his sixth-round match against Justin Bergman in an unfamiliar situation. Having already lost a match, he'd spent his buyback and was in a must-win situation. Against Bergman, who won the first rack in the race-to-three, Reyes needed to get going and fast.

Bergman, shooting at the lower right corner, glued the cue ball against the 14, just a few inches from Reyes' pocket. It looked like Bergman had him sewn up, but there's a reason Reyes is the one-pocket G.O.A.T. He played a two-rail kick at the 12 ball, which banked off the right long rail and directly into Reyes' pocket. Not only did he eliminate a ball from the jaws of his opponent's pocket, Reyes also left the cue ball near the middle of the table to continue his run.

Despite this flash of brilliance, though, Reyes couldn't keep up the magic. He took the second rack, only to watch Bergman win the next two to take the set, 3-1. Derby's unquestioned king was eliminated in the sixth round, but even a pedestrian performance will include moments of genius.

(Video clip provided by Accu-Stats Video Productions.)

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