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A Quick Start Guide to 10-Pin Bowling

10-pin bowling is one of the most famous sports played by millions all around the world. A competitive game that people enjoy playing with friends for leisure, bowling has pretty simple rules but requires good hand-eye coordination to ace the game. 

Are you just starting out with 10-pin bowling? Here’s a quick start guide to start playing this fun game.

10-Pin Bowling Gameplay

10-pin bowling is a competitive sport where the players hit ten pins with a bowling ball. The objective of the game is to knock down as many pins as possible to score points. The pins are arranged automatically in a triangular shape by a machine at the end of the lane. The ten pins are arranged with each pin 30cm apart from the other, and the first pin is called the head pin. 

Different countries have slightly different variants depending on the number of pins and type of bowling ball. However, as per the general rules, the player holds the bowling ball with three fingers and rolls the ball through the lane to knock the pins down. The player scores points based on the number of pins knocked down. 

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Each game consists of ten rounds, also called frames, and each player gets two chances to knock down all the ten pins. At the end of ten frames, the final score is calculated for all the players, and the player with the highest score wins the game. 

Important terms used in bowling

Strike

In the first chance of the first frame, a player starts the game and bowls the ball. If the player knocks all the ten balls down in the first chance, it is called a strike. After that, the frame is completed, and the player doesn’t get another chance. But if a player cannot knock down all the pins in the first chance, he/she is given another opportunity to knock down the remaining pins.

Spare

After the first chance, the knocked-down pins are removed, and the player gets another chance to roll the bowling ball. If the player knocks down the remaining pins in the second chance, it is called a spare. The next player then plays his round if multiple players are playing. 

Open Frame

If a player cannot knock down all the pins even after two chances in one frame, that frame is called an open frame.

Pin Scatter

Due to the distance between each pin and the size of the bowling ball, it is impossible for the ball to make contact with each pin to knock it down. The pins are usually knocked down as part of a chain reaction where the ball knocks down one pin, and it furthers knocks down the other pin, causing a chain reaction

For a right-handed bowler, a chain reaction occurs if the ball contacts any one of the odd-numbered pins, and all the pins may be knocked down by that chain reaction. For a left-handed bowler, a chain reaction occurs if the ball contacts any of the even-numbered pins for a complete knockdown.

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Scoring System

The scoring system in 10-pin bowling is a no-brainer; it all depends on the number of pins you have knocked in one frame. The players score one point for each pin that is knocked down in a frame. Since each frame gives the players two chances to knock all the ten pins down, the final score for that frame is a combined score of that frame.

For instance, if you knock down eight pins in the first chance of the first frame and the remaining two frames in the next chance, your score for that frame will be a combined score of both the chances. 

If you knock all the ten pins in the first chance, it is considered a strike and marked by X in the score sheet. The player is given a bonus score for a strike based on his score in the next two shots.

For instance, if you hit a strike in the first chance and then score 5 and 2 in the next two shots. The total score for the first frame will be 10+5+2= 17. The score for the second frame will be 5+2=7, and the total game score will be 17+7=24.

Double Strike

A double strike occurs when a player scores a strike in two consecutive frames – the player knocks down all ten pins in two frames. In case of a double strike, the scoring is as follows:

Assuming the player scores 5 and 2 in the two chances of the third frame, the total score will be

  • Frame 1 Total: 10 + 10 + 5 = 25
  • Frame 2 Total: 10 + 5 + 2 = 17
  • Frame 3 Total: 5 + 2 = 7
  • Total score of three frames: 25 + 17 + 7 = 49

Triple Strike

A triple strike or a Turkey occurs when a player scores a strike in three consecutiveframes. In case of a triple strike and assuming the player scores 5 and 2 in the two chances of the fourth frame, the total score will be as follows:

  • Frame 1 Total: 10 + 10 + 10 = 30
  • Frame 2 Total: 10 + 10 + 5 = 25
  • Frame 3 Total: 10 + 5 + 2 = 17
  • Frame 4 Total: 5 + 2 = 7
  • Total score of three frames: 30 + 25 + 17 + 7 = 79

Other Strikes

Although it’s difficult to score consecutive strikes unless you are a highly experienced professional player, more than three strikes also have different names. For example, a four consecutive strike is called Llama and other names, and a six consecutive strike is called Pack by some and Wild Turkeys by others. Nine strikes are called Golden Turkeys, and 12 strikes is called a Perfect Game which is quite rare.

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Clean Game

When a player score at least one strike or a spare in each frame, it is called a clean game. The maximum number of points the player scores from a strike is 30. In the 10th frame, if the player scores a strike, he/she is given two more chances. If the player scores two strikes again, he/she is given 30 points which is called striking out. 

Foul

If a player crosses the line while rolling the ball, it is considered a foul, and the pins knocked down aren’t counted in the score. A foul is counted as a ball with zero score. But if the player knocks down all the pins in the next chance, it is considered a spare.

Conclusion

Bowling is an entertaining game and a fun way to spend time with friends and family. The game is also gaining rapid popularity online owing to the global pandemic restrictions. Now that you have a basic understanding of 10-pin bowling, you can get your hands on the online bowling game on the MPL app and compete against a real player to win real cash prizes.

Vijaya Bharti
A postgraduate in accounting and finance, she embraced content writing as her full-time profession. She is a Gaming Writer but her endless desire to learn new things enables her to write about just anything that intrigues her. She enjoys learning in the process as she believes there is no end to gaining knowledge.

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