How to Score in Ten Pin Bowling


Scoring in ten pin bowling is relatively simple. There are 10 rounds, called frames, and in each frame the bowler gets two chances to knock down as many pins as possible. There are two special situations: A spare is when the bowler knocks down all 10 pins in the two rolls, and a strike is when the bowler knocks down all 10 pins in the first roll.

Things You'll Need

  • Scoring sheet or scoring computer
  • If you knock down fewer than 10 pins in two attempts, record the total number of pins on your scoresheet. Write the first roll's amount in the top left corner of the frame 1 scoring box and the second roll's amount in the top right corner. Write the total score up to that point in the main part of the scoring box. A box will therefore have three numbers:, one each for the two rolls and one for the total score up to that point. After the first frame, continue to write the number of pins knocked down for each roll in the corners and the total number of pins knocked down up to that point for all frames in the main part of the box.

  • If you roll a spare, or knock down all 10 pins in two rolls, put a slash mark in the top right corner of the scoring box. Leave the main box blank for now. On your next turn, add on the amount of the first roll to the 10 pins that you knocked down with your spare and write that in the box you had left blank. Then write your current total in the current frame.

    For example, if you roll a spare, then knock down six pins on the first roll of your next frame, then two on your second roll, add 16 to your score for the previous turn (10 plus 6) and eight (6 plus 2) for the current turn. If you get a spare two or more times in a row, the same rules apply, so you will add on the amount of pins knocked down in the first roll of the following frame.

  • If you roll a strike, or knock down all 10 pins in your first roll, record the strike with an "X" in the upper right hand corner of the scoring box and leave the total blank for now. In your next frame, add the total number of pins knocked down in both rolls to the 10 that you toppled with your strike. For example, if you knock down three and four pins in the frame following the strike, add 17 (10 plus three plus four), to your score for the frame in which you rolled a strike, then add seven (four plus three) for the current frame. If you roll two or more strikes in a row, use the same rule and add on the total of the following two rolls to the scores . For example, if you roll a strike, a strike, then a 7 and a 2, your first frame's score will be 27 (10 plus 10 plus 7) and the next frame's score will add on 19 (10 plus 7 plus 2). You could potentially score 30 points for every frame if you get strikes every time.

  • If you roll a strike followed by a spare, your score for the strike's frame will be 20, which includes 10 for the strike plus the 10 for the following two rolls, which happens to be a spare.

  • If you roll a spare in the final frame, reset the pins and roll a final time. Add the 10 pins from the spare and the amount of pins knocked down in the third and final roll to your score to get your final score.

  • If you roll a strike in the final frame, roll two more times and add all three rolls to your score. This is your final score. You can only roll up to three times in the final frame, so the maximum score in the tenth frame is 30 (three strikes). The maximum score for an entire game is 300.

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