Charlie Williams, the “Korean Dragon.” ~ Patrick Sampey {Interview}

Twenty-four hours in a day, and 18 of them Charlie Williams is pushing hard all day long—he sleeps perhaps five to six hours a night.

Williams, born in Seoul , Korea, 37 years old, is a straight shooter; he has a work ethic unlike any I’ve seen, and is very easy to interview. The conversation rolls along as easy as a leaf meandering down a calm, cool Florida river. This seems to fit him well, being that he now lives in Orlando, and has since the age of 21.

The “Korean Dragon,” now the Florida Dragon, was told when he was 12 that he could be a champion by a young, 15-year-old Max Eberle—who Williams says is his oldest friend in the pool world. Eberle won the Billiard Congress of America’s National Junior Championship in 1991 when he was 18, is a excellent pro pool player as well, and is known as “Mad Max” by other pros.

Many know Williams as a championship pool player, former five time Mosconi Cup player (winning four times out of five, no less) and team captain from 2011, but he informs me that he hasn’t even picked up a cue in about a month. Wow! This is a shock to me. These days, he is first a promoter of the game, second a coach of the game, and third a player; Dragon Promotions, where he is the Executive Producer, is uplifting the game by promoting professional billiards events throughout the world at a time when the game is struggling.

“Dragon Promotions team of world class producers has successfully created and produced over 200 international events worldwide. In a span of nearly 14 years, Dragon Promotions has produced over 1000 hours of original television programming airing on networks in USA, China, Philippines, Korea, Canada, the Middle East, all of Asia, and Europe. DP has reached literally hundreds of millions of viewers.” 

Promoter, coach, and then player—that’s how he sees his role in the billiards world currently. This is how he supports pool.

These days billiards in the US is not nearly as popular as it used to be, and we discuss what may be needed to return the game we love back to prominence. He tells me how we have 9-ball, 10-ball, One Pocket, Straight Pool, etc. He contrasts that against Snooker in Europe and how they have a standard game where all the fans know the rules, know the game and that’s what they play. Here, he continues, pool is disjointed, having different formats, rules, games, etc., where the fans can hardly keep up with, or know exactly what’s going on for any given tournament. He indicates that perhaps 8-ball, a game most amateurs know and play, could be that standard, although he says 9 ball or 10 ball could also be. He contends 10-ball is 10-20 percent more difficult than 9, and this seems to be one of the games for which he has a great respect.