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Bowling Trivia

There is some interesting trivia about tenpin bowling.

Most Games?

The following are a few of questions that visitors to my website has posed. We don't know all the answers, maybe you can shed some light on these.

bowling ball
Do you know which sport uses the heaviest balls?

Tenpin Bowling of course!
(if we don't count the shot put!)

Question 1: What is the bowling score that has been bowled the fewest times?

We have had a huge response to this question, and although there have been many suggested answers, the most common and most credible is 292. Go here to read all the suggestions and see how we came to this conclusion.

Question 2: What bowling score has the most probabilities to arrive at that score?

(supposedly this score can be arrived at by over a trillion different frame scores. Some scientists used a computer to find out this number)


(submitted my Raymond)
"I would have to guess at something like 165? It's anyone's guess really isn't it!"

(submitted by James)
"According to The bowling score that has the most probabilities to arrive at that score is 77. They offer a very scientific explanation to it ... "

Also from the Balmoral website: How many possible games? "First, it seems evident that the total number of possible ten-pin bowling games is quite large. We have eleven possibilities for the first ball thrown in the first frame (gutter, 1, 2, ..., 9, strike), and the same possibilities occur for each of the other nine frames. So without even considering the second ball in each frame, at a minimum we have 11¹º = 26 billion possibilities. In fact, the true number of games is much, much larger due to the effect of the second ball in each frame. It's easy to show that the total number of possible games is 66^9 x 241 = 5,726,805,883,325,784,576 (about 6 billion billion, or 6 quintillion)!"

(Submitted by Keller)
According to my neurons calculations the answer is: 129. 3 possibilities per frame: Strike Spare or Open. Average pins per spare is 5.5. Average open frame score is ( 5.5 + 2.25 ). So, three strikes + 3 spares + 3 opens = ( 46.5 + 46.5 + 23 ) / 9 x 10 = 129

Seems like we have the best answer. Any comments? let me know.

Question 3: What is the significance of scoring a 111 in the seventh? Why do most lanes offer a free drink if you achieve that score? (Question from Michelle)


  • Because if you bowl a 111 by the seventh frame you are able to bowl a 200. If you don't have a 111 by the seventh frame you will not bowl a 200 (thanks to Tia).
  • Thanks also to Bob who clarified the maths - if you have 110 by the 7th frame and strike out you will end up with an even 200.
  • Another message on this topic ... "actually bob's maths is off as 110 + 150 = 260"

Question 4: Have any two bowlers (or more!) have bowled 300 in the same game. Question from Martien, from Whangaparaoa in New Zealand.


  • (from Christine) The answer is yes, it happened in Australia at the AMF Mt Gravatt Lanes in Queensland I believe in 2007. It was posted in the AMF monthly magazine. Two competing bowlers in league both bowled a perfect game each, but 1 bowler actually won as it also was a league with a handicap system in place giving the winner the extra pins. We also had the first-ever Australian bowl back to back 300’s about 4 years ago. It was done by a Junior bowler at the Nerang Tenpin bowling center in Queensland Australia, his name was Derek Adams and it happened about 5-6 years ago. I believe he also bowled a 297 for his 3rd game.
  • (from Bob Wolfe) My teammate, Robert Hancock, and I, Robert Wolfe, bowled concurrent 300 games in the Tuesday Night Mixed league at Funtime Bowl, Atlanta, GA on 23 March 2010.  We achieved this in the first game of the three-game set.  Hancock bowls in the #4 slot, and I bowl in the #5 slot.  It was Hancock's 5th sanctioned 300 game, while it was my FIRST 300 game!  Hancock went on to finish with a 207 and 201 for 708 series, and I finished with a 212 and 268 for a 780 series.  Quite a commotion ensued.

More Trivia & Questions

  • 19 gutter balls in a row during a league game: Richard Caplette, Danielson, Conn., Sept. 7, 1971. Can anyone beat that!
  • Also, Jim asks - a 190 without a strike - has it been done ?
  • Can you tell me the most 300 games ever bowled by the same individual, amatuer and/or pro? Question from Denise

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