Charlie Williams Sweeps Super Billiard Expo 14.1 Challenge

Charlie Williams

While the expo may be over Charlie Williams's 14.1 winning streak seemingly cannot be stopped. From a late night entry into the challenge Charlie Williams knocked Thorsten Hohmann out of the running with incredible play surpassing over one hundred players to earn his spot in the final eight. With wins over Cory Deuel in the first round, Mike Davis in the semi-finals and then a huge win over straight pool juggernaut John Schmidt to take the finals. The challenge in its first year was a great success thanks to our incredible sponsors Diamond Billiard Products, Bob Jewett, Pete Tonkin Custom Cues, Milliken Super Pro Cloth , Sterling Fury Gaming and the members of the AZBilliards 14.1 Forums. We also had the honor of being live streamed on the InsidePool Stream thanks to JR Calvert bringing 14.1 Straight Pool back into the limelight. Special editorial thanks also goes out to the amazing people at This year's event could not have been what it was however without the incredible support of all of the spectators who watched the event throughout the four days of action. When asked, Charlie Williams said that it added to his personal experience in the event having that many players and spectators watching.

What started out as a pipe dream between two friends during a practice game of Straight Pool quickly grew into the most talked about event at the Expo this year. With crowds reaching well over a hundred in numbers the buzz around the event was undeniable. From the first moment you walked down the expo center's stairs and saw the two massive plasma displays thanking sponsors and displaying runs from the days prior you knew the event was poised to be great. Three people in particular who put in an incredible amount of work every day were Steve Kurtz whose name is quickly becoming synonymous with Straight Pool, his lovely wife Heather Kurtz whose logistical help and passion for the game was invaluable, and of course Straight Pool aficionado Bill Maropolous whose knowledge and experience truly made the event that much better with his presence. These three individuals worked tirelessly around the clock to ensure that the event was a success and to score players into the wee hours of the morning. There is even reports of them working from 8:00 am to 4:30 am the next morning.

Other notable players involved in the challenge were Ralph Eckert, Tony Robles, Larry Nevel, Bobby Chamberlain who gained sponsorship status as the event went on, Eric “EASY-E” Charlton, and of course New York Straight Pool Icons Danny Barouty and Steve Lipsky. Steve Lipsky was one of the finalists who made it to the top 8 with a final score of 132 in five innings. Lipsky's new nickname “The Mission” was truly evident as he looked like a man possessed punishing break shots at ninety miles an hour with no fear. Lipsky was a beautiful juxtaposition between power and grace. Thunderous break shots amidst a sea of calm collected and methodical pattern play. Other stand out finalists include Bob Maidoff and Dave Daya two gentleman of the game from the old guard whose mannerisms and demeanor at the table harkens back to a time when Straight Pool truly was a discipline of champions.

From everyone involved in the challenge a heartfelt thank you goes out to all that showed their support for the event whether it be the multiple entries, cue raffles, or just stopping by to say hello. The event is slated to be even bigger next year with more tables and the addition of a new program called the 14.1 For Everyone Initiative being implemented by tournament director Charles Eames. This will involve a junior's event involving players 16 and under being coached through their racks by professional players and exposing a new generation of players to the incredible game of 14.1 continuous straight pool. “We have some very big irons in the fire and we are quite hopeful for next year” was all that could be dragged out of Charles Eames when asked. He is keeping deceptively quiet about next year as he has what he is describing as “high hopes” for sponsorships. Once again though in the end it truly is Charlie William's who deserves the kudos here for braving a field of over a hundred players to claim his rightful title as the first ever Super Billiards Expo 14.1 Challenge Champion. He is a true champion through his efforts both on and off the table and it was an honor to have a player of his stature in the cue sports community compete.