Carl Wilson a.k.a. Carson City Carl has been an influential power in the sport of pocket billiards. He is considered by most to be one of the best and most feared road players on the west coast and travels frequently to major pool halls. He never backs down from a challenge or a bet…
When was the first time you picked up a pool cue?
I was 12 years old when my father took me to the brand new pool hall in town. We walked up to the door and the owner informed us that they weren’t open to the public yet. I was such a smart alecky kid I said to the owner, “how ’bout I beat you in a game of pool, can I come in then?” Well, it turns out he was a world champion (Bobby Hunter) and it took me a good year to win that first game.
Do you think that playing a world champion from day one is what made you the player you are today?
Absolutely. I spent many years playing and learning from Bobby. He was a great teacher and pretty much taught me everything I know today.
How many years did it take you to get to the level of play you are at now?
Well, I like to think that I am continually improving and honing my skills. So the level I am at now may not be the level I am at 6 months from now. It’s hard to put a definitive skill level on a person in the game of pocket billiards.
Do you have any advice for players that are just starting out? My advice to upcoming players is to make sure you do lots of drills. I mean, players don’t understand that drills improve their game faster than any other kind of practice. Oh, and gambling will definitely hone your skills and make you a stronger player.
I have heard a lot of talk about you not performing that well in tournaments and you attend very few of them. Why is that?
Tournaments really don’t pay anything. I mean, you have to come in the top 3 just to break even after expenses like your hotel and airfare. I prefer a different approach, an under the radar approach. I travel to pool halls, bars, houses, wherever! If there’s action, I’m there, and if there isn’t, I create it.
What kind of playing cue do you use and how long have you been playing with it?
I shoot with a custom Bobby Hunter. Bobby told me when I first started out that if you are going to be a great pool player you need a great cue. His cues are known as some of the best in the world. I have had the same cue for over 16 years and I probably couldn’t make a ball if I played with anything else.
What is your favorite pool table and why?
I prefer Brunswick pool tables over say, Diamond pool tables. I grew up playing on a Brunswick and I have a real good feel for those tables. Diamond pool tables are great and consistently play the same wherever you go, I don’t like that. Brunswick pool tables play different wherever you go, and I like to think that that has something to do with why I am such a great pool player.
There has been a lot of talk of you going to the Philippines to play pool. Is that true?
Ha, ha. I am thinking about going to the Philippines, who did you hear that from? Man, I need to get some new friends. So, yes it is true, but I’m not going there to play pool. We all need a vacation sometimes.
If you were to be sponsored by any company in the world, who would you want it to be?
Great question! I would most definitively go with Rolex. I think pool needs some of the sponsors that golf has. It is a shame that people like myself devote there whole life to something and never really get rewarded. I personally think pool is more fun to watch than golf. Why do they get all the exposure?
Which movie about pool best describes your game?
“The Hustler” with Jackie Gleason and Paul Newman. I love that movie. Just watch it, that’s me in a nutshell. I just don’t like to think of myself in black and white.