The internet sensation Charles Lakey is a growing name in pool halls around the world. Charles has joined the legendary fame of trick shot artists Tom Rossman, Mike Massey and Florian Kohler. When you say trick shot around a pool table these gentlemen’s names always come up in the conversation. Charles The Inventor Lakey has had millions and millions of views worldwide of his creative artistic ability with a cue stick. After watching Charles’s innovating trick shots his nickname suits him perfectly.
What was your main reason for getting involved in artistic pool? And how long ago was your very first video post on Facebook. Also, how where your emotions that day with such a very risky thing to do?
About 6 years ago I came back to pool after being away for 20 years. Back in the day I had my own style, completely self-taught, since the coaches rejected me from courses because they didn’t think I had any talent. I practiced 8 hours a day first 2 years and backed down to 5 hours a day for 8 years. I didn’t have any patterns, but if the balls weren’t blocked, they were in the hole. I practiced speed pool, played with the lights turned off, and always alone. My game was based on the sickest of aiming accuracy and extreme power. So, I always did a lot of sick stuff in tournaments lol. As I now only play after my night shifts, I’m always alone, and it’s way more fun to do artistic than regular practice. Turning to artistic wasn’t really risky for me, I knew I was going to be alone with that combined style and in my opinion, failures are lessons and not a bad thing. It’s important to know that when you miss a train, there’s always gonna come another ahead and don’t dig yourself down cause of a missed departure.
Many viewers like that you post some of your failed attempts even though they are fun to watch and some are even painful to you. What was your reason for the failed shots in some of your videos?
I do often get the question, as I know you do too, how many tries? Maybe one of the most worn out boring questions. I usually say how many and new inventions are rarely made on the first try. If players insist that all their shots are made on first try, well they’re building up some extreme pressure, which they most likely can’t live up to when the heat is on. Set-up shots, yes usually on first try of course. I started posting bloopers because partly they’re quite funny and to show that I’m not a superhuman. And hands down, to me, artistic isn’t to show who’s the best, it’s to do what you love to do and what you think people want to see. If someone uploads a 7 second skill shot, it doesn’t look different if you make it on 1st or 1001st try if one’s honest about it, yes? One of my sponsors told me to stop uploading bloopers, because I should only show success. So, I said to him I’ll never do that, I’m not a superhuman, I work really hard and I want people to know what I do and applying it’s all success is ridiculous, and I terminated our companionship after that.
What has been a couple of your favorite moments in pool?
Favorite moments… building up friendship with you artistic guys are precious to me. Some on top are definitely when Florian Kohler commented in one of my videos and said it was good stuff. I got like 3 inches taller by that lol, he’s like the king at this game. And Abram Diaz made a statement in a video, talking about me and said I was the real deal and I should continue to do what I do. There are lots to mention, but these are a few I’ll never forget.
My favorite game is 9-ball. There are always invitations in every rack to pull out some sick stuff for hunting down the 9 lol
Will you ever enter a WPA- Professional Artistic event to receive a pro ranking?
I’d really like to enter artistic tournaments. Meeting up with all these shooters, see if I can match up against them, learn new things, I’m not really craving for a ranking, I’m pretty satisfied with how it goes now and if I’d choose any artistic tournaments it’d definitely be trying to enter the biggest ones. Rankings to me is more of a way to show who’s entered most tournaments and not necessarily to show who’s the strongest.
You have done so many trick shots. From your own inventive shots and shots from other creative players. My favorites are your timing shots. What are your favorite shots and why?
Timing shots are always fun and challenging cause they are depending on several ingredients, speed, aiming, geometry and the slow rolling timing shots are most fun. The highest power shot percentage I’d say high/left out of the one I control and get most power out of. Those I find most satisfying and easiest would be stun shots, jumping over barriers and after 2 bounces let a backspin completely change the cb direction. And of course, dead straight full draw shots with a slight jump so the cb stops a second after the hit and then accelerate straight back.
How has all of this, the fame, practice, the video shooting, video editing and the time away from home impacted your life? (Job, Friends and your Family )
The playing, practice, doesn’t affect family and friends. I only play between like 3-5 am after work, then I head home spending time when my 4 Kids wake up, eat breakfast with them before they go to school. Basically, I go to sleep around 8 am. I never play on my days off, that time I spend 100 percent with my kids. The only thing that affects some is the interaction with people on my pages. I try to reply to all, I feel if someone watches my video, like, share and take their time to comment, it’s a clear thing for me to give a personal reply and thanks. However, sometimes there are too many to reply.
Will artistic pool ever be your occupation, or will it just be a hobby that your fans get to enjoy for many years to come?
I’d really love to be able to live on this. Quit my job and do this full time. As of now my night job as a mechanic/printer, average 20 nights per month, is what brings food and shelter for my family and I’d never jeopardize that for my other dreams.
Author: Troy Garten
Editor: Chris Freeman