Pool, formally known as pocket billiards in North America and pool billiards in Australia and Europe, is one of the world’s most fashionable and sophisticated indoor sports. It belongs to the cue sports and activities family. And some of the greatest pool players earn notoriety and substantial wealth.
Best Pool Players of All Time
This game is played on a pool table with six receptacles or pockets along the rails. Popular variations include eight-ball and nine-ball. Conversely, the six-pocket is an obsolete version. In reality, there are hundreds of different pool games, some of which are pool and carom billiards hybrids. Here is a list of the all-time greatest pool players.
1) Efren Reyes
Efren Manalang Reyes is widely regarded by pool experts, fans, and former competitors as the finest player of all time. This Filipino also tops our list of the greatest pool players ever. He is still the only competitor to have won World Championships in two distinct pool disciplines.
Efren has won over seventy international championships to date. He has won the Derby City Classic title fourteen times and the World Pool League title twice. In addition, he won the World Cup twice during his active career.
During the 1980s, he became a top-tier player in his native country. After moving to the United States for hustle, Efren earned $80,000 in one week. In 2003, Efren was the first Asian inducted into the Billiard Congress of America’s Hall of Fame. 2007’s “Fans’ Top 20 Favorite Players” election by Pool & Billiard Magazine ranked him second.
2) Ralph Greenleaf
In his prime, American professional pool and carom billiards player Ralph Greenleaf received praise as the game’s most dominant player. And he acquired this notoriety through his skill and charisma. He is now ranked second on our list of the most significant pool competitors ever.
Greenleaf did for pocket billiards what Babe Ruth did for baseball, Dempsey did for combat, and Tilden did for tennis, according to the New York Times obituary published in March 1950. Greenleaf set a record by winning the World Pocket Billiards Championship twenty times. Throughout his life, the format of the game of straight pool varied from competition to competition.
In 1966, he was one of the first three inaugural inductees into the Billiard Congress of America Hall of Fame. He ranked third on the “50 Greatest Players of the Century” list compiled by Billiards Digest Magazine.
3) Willie Mosconi
William Joseph Mosconi, an American professional pool and pocket billiards player, ranks third on our list of the greatest players ever. Between 1941 and 1957, he won the World Straight Pool Championship fifteen times.
He earned the moniker “Mr. Pocket Billiards” by inventing and utilizing numerous trick shots. In North America, his name became almost synonymous with pool. In addition, he contributed to the pool’s rise in popularity as a national pastime.
Mosconi owns the world record for a continuous pool-high run of 526 balls, officially recognized. In 1966, he was one of the first three inaugural inductees into the Billiard Congress of America Hall of Fame. Mosconi was also the technical advisor for the 1961 film The Hustler, starring Paul Newman. This film played a crucial role in the pool’s meteoric popularity.
4) Rudolf Wanderone
During his prime, American professional pocket billiards player Rudolf Walter Wanderone, also known as “Minnesota Fats,” was the most well-known pool player in the United States. Not only did he gain fame as an incredible pool player, but also as a complete entertainer.
Now, he ranks fourth on our list of the most significant pool competitors ever. He began playing pool at a very young age and, by his adolescent years, had become a traveling pool hustler. Minnesota Fats conned World War II service members in Norfolk and eventually became a folk superstar.
Rudolf received the moniker ‘Minnesota Fats’ from a character in the 1961 film The Hustler. However, film critics assert that he was the sole inspiration for the character. In 1984, he was inducted into the Billiard Congress of America Hall of Fame. Rudolf has earned his nomination for popularizing pool throughout the United States.
5) Luther Lassiter
The nine-ball virtuosity of the renowned American pool player Luther Lassiter, nicknamed Wimpy, is still remembered by pool enthusiasts. He is currently ranked fifth on our list of the greatest pool players ever.
Fans consider him one of the best pool players of all time. He won six world titles and numerous other accolades. In addition, he was inducted into the Billiards Congress of America’s Hall of Fame in 1983. Lassiter was inducted into the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame the same year.
Billiards Digest ranked Luther Lassiter ninth among the “50 Greatest Players of the Century” In his prime. He was known as the undisputed monarch of pool hustlers, winning over $300,000 betting on pool games between 1942 and 1948. Luther Lassiter won $15,000 in a single week, turning him into a national icon.
6) Earl Strickland
The American professional pool player Earl Strickland, also known as “The Pearl,” is ranked sixth on our list of the greatest pool players of all time and is widely regarded as one of the greatest nine-ball players ever. In addition to his numerous championship titles, Earl gained notoriety for his outspoken views and volatile behavior, which made him one of the most controversial competitors.
He is the only player to win the U.S. Open Nine-ball Championships five times and the WPA World Nine-ball Championship twice. In 2013, Strickland won the Turning Stone XXI 9-Ball Championship.
In 2006, he was inducted into the Billiard Congress of America’s Hall of Fame. Pool & Billiard Magazine’s 2007 “Fans’ Top 20 Favorite Pool Players” poll ranked Earl Strickland sixth.
7) Mike Sigel
Mike Sigel, an American professional pool player, has won over 102 significant pool tournaments during his active career and ranks seventh on our list of the greatest pool players ever. Fans dubbed him “Captain Hook” due to his ability to snag opponents with safety plays.
Sigel won three U.S. Open Nine-ball Championships and five world pocket billiard championships. He has been designated “Player of the Year” three times by Billiards Digest and Pool and Billiards.
In 1989, at 35, he was the youngest competitor inducted into the Billiard Congress of America Hall of Fame. Billiards Digest ranked Sigel fifth among the “50 greatest pool players of the Century” list. In 2011, he was inducted into the International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame.
8) Johnny Archer
American professional pool player Johnny Archer placed third in Pool & Billiard Magazine’s 2007 “Fans’ Top 20 Favorite Pool Players” poll and is ranked eighth on our list of the finest pool players ever.
He is known as “the Scorpion” because one of his sponsors is Scorpion Cues, and his zodiac sign is Scorpio. He has been one of the most successful nine-ball competitors in the last two decades.
In 1992 and 1997, Archer won the WPA World Nine-ball Championship. In 2003, he won the Sudden Death Seven-ball and the inaugural World Summit of Pool. In 2006, he also won the winner-take-all $50,000 International Challenge of Champions. On June 8, 2009, Archer was inducted into the Billiard Congress of America Hall of Fame.
9) Buddy Hall
American professional pool player Cecil P. “Buddy” Hall was hailed as a “living pool legend” by The International Pool Tour and is ranked ninth on our list of the greatest pool players ever. For nearly three decades, he was one of the most dominant forces in billiards, earning him the appellation “The Rifleman” due to his astounding accuracy.
Buddy is also known for devising the “clock system,” which is “a technique for where to hit the cue ball, using the clock as a mechanism for where to aim,” per PoolVideo.com. Three times, The National Billiard News and Pool and Billiards Magazine named him Player of the Year, and he is presently a member of the International Pool Tour. In 2005, Buddy Hall was inducted into the Hall of Fame of the Billiards Congress of America.
10) Ronnie Allen
In the zenith of his pool-shooting career, American professional pool player Ronnie Monroe “Fast Eddie” Allen was regarded as a “superstar” in the sport. He is recognized as a “one-pocket specialist” and ranks tenth on our list of the top ten greatest pool players ever.
From the 1960s through the 1980s, he was the world’s most dominant one-pocket player. A Hall of Famer, Eddie Kelly, cited Fast Eddie as saying, “Ronnie Allen was the best one-pocket player I ever played.”
And the legendary Minnesota Fats stated of Ronnie Allen, “Anyone who plays him for money has no chance whatsoever.” Fast Eddie was inducted into the One Pocket Hall of Fame in 2004 for his significant contributions to the sport of one-pocket pocket billiard.