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How to Score a Game of Bowling by Hand


Bowling has grown to be a popular sporting event amongst many worldwide. We’ve learned to enter the bowling alley with the expectation that the shoes, ball, and score will be handed to us for an afternoon of fun. While it’s nice to have the convenience of an electronic scorer, it’s a good idea to learn the way in which a game of bowling is scored so that you’re more understanding of what that screen projects.


When you see an “X” appear on the monitor, you’ve achieved a strike! That is of course the most desired score for each round in a game of bowling, but what does that “X” really mean? Each strike is worth ten points in addition to the scores of your next two rolls. The minimum score one could achieve from a strike would be ten points, but at best a bowler can earn up to thirty points!


Similar to a strike, a spare is also worth ten points, but is added to the score of only one following roll instead of two. In this case, the best a bowler could achieve from earning a spare would be twenty. Again, the minimum point value would remain at ten for the spare itself. A spare is represented by a “/” to indicate that you cut the pins and then cleared them the second toss.

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If there happens to be a round where a bowler receives neither a strike nor a spare, this round will be scored as is. There will be no additionally rolls to count towards and no bonus points to earn. The bowler will simply count the number of pins that have been knocked down and apply that number to their overall score.

At the very end when each bowler has finished their ten rounds, the various numbers and symbols will be added together to reflect your overall scores. It’s best to keep each round separate from the next to make adding the amounts easier. Once you’ve totaled each column for each round you can go through and calculate the point values for strikes and spares as they’ve been affected by following throws. Finally, you can add the amounts together to result in your final score. The best score one can receive in a game of bowling is 300 points. Good luck!

For more information on bowling ins and outs, visit Striker’s website!

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