Are you wondering how to calculate your bowling score? Scoring in bowling is calculated on a rolling basis and is always dependent on the frame’s outcome. There are 10 frames in bowling. A frame consists of two different bowls, so the bowler gets to throw the ball down the lane at the pins twice per frame unless they are able to knock the 10 pins down on their first throw.

Keeping Track of Scores When Bowling

The minimum score for a single bowling game is 0, and the maximum score is 300. A player will get two attempts to knock over all 10 pins for each frame. A perfect score would be a strike for every frame. If you want to know how scoring works in bowling, read on to find out more.

Open Frames

An open frame is when the player fails to knock down all 10 pins with both bowls. This means that the player was unable to make a strike or a spare.

For instance, if you happen to knock over two pins on your first try and six pins on your second try, then the open frame score would be 8 points. 

When open frames are being scored, the scoring is pretty simple, but it can get a bit more challenging when there are strikes and spares involved.


A spare occurs when a player knocks down all 10 of the pins on their second try for the frame and is indicated by a slash on a scorecard. When a spare is earned, it is then used to calculate the score on the next frame. Once a player scores a spare, they will be rewarded with 10 points in addition to a bonus of whatever they roll on their first shot of the next frame.


A strike occurs when a player knocks down all ten pins with their first attempt to roll and is indicated by an X on the scorecard. A strike is worth 10 points in addition to the number of pins on your next two shots. The max score that a player can receive for a strike is 30 points, and the minimum a player can receive is 10. However, the final score will not be directly calculated since all players must wait for the score of their next two rolls.

For instance, suppose a player earns a strike in frame #1 and bowls an 8 and 1 on the following two rolls. Their score for the first frame will be 10, and their score for the second frame will be 9. This will give them a running total of 28 points after the second frame.  

The 10th Frame

The bowler gets an additional roll if a spare is earned and two additional rolls if they receive a strike on the 10th frame. The total number of pins knocked down will then be added to the running total.

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