The Rules of Ten Pin (10 Pin) Bowling – EXPLAINED!

Ninh explains – The Rules of Ten Pin (10 Pin) Bowling. Learn how the most popular version of bowling is played worldwide!

Watch this short beginner’s tutorial video guide on how 10 pin bowling is played, Ten Pin rules, and how to play ten Pin Bowling.

Learn about open frame, spares, strikes, gutterballs, frames, splits, oil pattern and more.

Also discuss on Reddit!

Video: Copyright PBA, ESPN (I do not own video footage and claim fair use).
Images: Google (Various)
Music: ‘Karin Kanzuki’ by Capcom
Narrated, Directed and Produced by Ninh Ly

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53 Comments on “The Rules of Ten Pin (10 Pin) Bowling – EXPLAINED!”

  1. Ninh explains – The Rules of Ten Pin Bowling. A lot of people asked for this one, even though I was sure that everyone knew the rules of this sport already.
    And before anyone asks, I will not be doing a video on Candlepin bowling, Duckpin Bowling, 9 Pin bowling (or any variant thereof), Lawn Bowls, Crown Green Bowling, Flat Green Bowling, Petanque, Boules, Bocce or any other variation of bowling for that matter. It’s just not worth the time compared to the amount of views I’m getting.

    1. Let me go over a few differences between candlepin and 10 pin

      1) You are allowed to use knocked down pins (called “deadwood”) to your advantage
      2) You get 3 balls per frame instead of 2
      3) the balls are much smaller than in 10 pin
      4) The pins are shaped more straight shaped instead of tapered in 10 pin

    2. Just wonderful, I’ve been looking for “how much is a strike worth in bowling?” for a while now, and I think this has helped. Have you heard people talk about – Piylivern Remarkable Predominance – (should be on google have a look ) ? It is a good one off guide for discovering how to up your bowling game quickly minus the headache. Ive heard some super things about it and my friend got cool success with it.

    3. Cheers for this, been searching for “how does the scoring work in indoor bowls?” for a while now, and I think this has helped. You ever tried – Piylivern Remarkable Predominance – (search on google ) ? It is a good one off guide for discovering how to up your bowling game quickly without the hard work. Ive heard some super things about it and my neighbour got great results with it.

    1. Hi Gabriel. Yes, every lane is oiled – but most of the time you can’t see it. The PBA decided to add blue dye to it’s oil so that you can see it on TV (as in the video), but generally the oil is clear. And each lane is oiled differently, so you might want to check with your local bowling alley what sort of oil pattern they use. Hope that helps?

    2. All lanes have oiled,but PBA have published official patterns to make the games more consistent, without the lane advantages.

    3. Ninh Ly ahh ok I’ll have to keep that in mind next time I go bowling so I can gain an advantage of my friends😈 and also make sure I don’t try to walk down the lane😂

    4. Gabriel Maric In normal bowling alley, the oil pattern is random. In professional bowling, the pattern is chosen from official pattern list.

    1. Yes, I really do. I’m shocked that I’ve not increased that much in the 6 months I’ve been back here. Very disheartening at times. Thanks for commenting though, I appreciate that!

    1. Ah Pete Webber … what a guy. I ended up hating him at first, but he grew on me. My fave’s are Parker Bohn III and Mike Barnes – mainly for their flawless technique. I’ve got a long way to go.

  2. 1. It will always amaze me how professional bowlers are able to make that curve.

    2. I came here mainly to see how strikes and spares are calculated. I never could figure it out.

    1. Hi Nicholas.
      1) It’s actually quite simple. If you watch carefully, they spin the ball like a bullet (or an American Football spiral). When the oil runs dry, the ball ‘grabs’ onto the dry part of the lane and the ball starts to change direction. It’ll take you a while to develop this yourself, but once you get the knack of it, you never forget how to do it!
      2) Yes, isn’t it easy if someone explains it to you?!
      Thanks for stopping by.

    2. Another way to explain it:

      1. If you get a spare, the first ball of your next frame counts double.

      2. If you get a strike, both balls of your next frame count double. If your next frame is also a strike, it counts double but the first ball of the subsequent frame counts triple, while the second ball counts double.

      3. If you get a spare or a strike on Frame 10, since there is no next frame you get extra shots (1 for a spare, 2 for a strike) but they count single. On consecutive strikes on Frames 9 and 10, your first extra shot counts double.

      I know this is not the “kosher” way of computing scores frame by frame, but when it comes to computing the final score this method arrives at the same result.

    3. Benoit Blanchard – I preferred my explanation. Way simpler to explain to a complete beginner. But yes, it arrives at the same result.

    4. I always thought the spares and Strikes were calculated with the previous one or two frames.

    5. If you get the ball drilled to your fingertips (not house ball) the ball will spin pretty much on it’s own.

    1. Awesome! I think Sky Sports covers the Weber Cup which is held in (of all places) Barnsley!
      Be sure to check out my other sports video.

  3. Brings me back to when I bowled as a kid. Didn’t know they oiled the lanes. Just thought they waxed them daily. Awesome video

  4. Awesome video. I think part of bowling’s appeal in the world is the fact that anyone can play, and most players have a relaxed look when they play.

    Great vid, Ninh. Did you know there’s also a Canadian variant called 5-pin, and a variety in the US New England States named Candlepin bowling? It’d be nice to do videos of those two variants of bowling. Cheers! 😀

    1. Thanks again bro.
      I’m fully aware of those variants – but if you read the top comment – you’ll know that I have no plans to cover any other forms of bowling.

    1. Hi Alex. I do use computer game music for my sports videos. However, they’re mainly from fighting games like Tekken and Street Fighter V.

  5. You did forget to mention the 5 player team version called Baker, where 5 players rotate every frame (bowler A bowls frames 1/6, B 2/7, etc. to E, or the anchor, bowls 5/10). Brings a whole new level of difficulty in to the sport.

    1. I didn’t forget, I didn’t want to confuse a complete beginner about varying formats of games.
      It technically isn’t a rule of bowling, its a format.

  6. I’m wondering if you have a video or could recommend a video that would help me in being able to follow professional bowling? For example the different leagues/tournaments etc and how qualifying works and where to follow/watch.. I’m in the UK and have enjoyed watching bowling for a few weeks now and just want more info.. thanks 🙂

    1. Hi David. Excellent question! The topmost bowling league in the world is the PBA (Professional Bowlers Association) that runs different tournaments throughout the year. The tournaments vary depending on oil pattern and location so it’s pretty cool to watch how bowlers adjust to the different lanes and patterns. There are YouTube users who upload full matches so be sure to type in ‘PBA Bowling’ and you’ll have no shortage of bowling games to watch. Hope that helps?

  7. Finally! A video that explains how the game works! I kept looking for hours on something that would teach me how the game works, but no matter what I looked up, all that came up were videos of how to hold the ball. What good does tips on how to hold the ball do me if I don’t know how the game works to begin with? Sheesh. Anywho, thank you so much for this comprehensive explanation.

  8. Slight correction. Yes with the scoring you get two chances to knock down as many pins as you can in a single frame, except for the last frame depending on how well you score in that frame. For example if you either get a strike or a spare in that frame , you either get two more throws in the case of a strike or one more throw in the case of a spare.

  9. Why didn’t you explain the rules of etiquette (also known as common manners). Too many people keep moving onto my lane just before I bowl and others cut in front of me before I bowl. I’m sure you can’t do anything now, but if you ever make an updated version, please include these rules. Thanks for reading this (if you did) and keep up the good work.

    1. They aren’t really rules on how to play the sport of bowling, so I wouldn’t explain stuff like that.
      But thanks!

  10. Looks interesting. Also I heard and know about Canadian five pin bowling. Can you please explain the rules of Canadian five pin bowling?

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