What is Nine-Pin (No-Tap) Bowling?

Bowling, also commonly known as tenpin, is a sport played by knocking down all ten pins on the ball’s first and second roll. However, there is a scoring format in bowling wherein if you knock down 9 out of 10 pins, you get a strike. This is known as the nine-pin no-tap bowling.

In a nine-pin no-tap bowling, when you knock down nine or more pins on your first attempt, you will get a strike. It is a particular scoring format that is usually used in tournaments.

Your score will not matter whether you hit only nine or all ten pins on your first ball. Either way, it will be counted as a strike.    

As a fellow bowling buff, I know you would like to learn more about this particular playing setup. If you are a bowling newbie or someone familiar with the game, I’m pretty sure you have encountered this term before. Read on as I explain some important details about the nine-pin no-tap bowling every bowling enthusiast should know.

What is a Ninepin No-Tap Bowling?

As previously explained, a nine-pin no-tap in bowling is a strike if a player hits nine out of ten or all ten pins on the first throw. In bowling, the term “no-tap” basically means you don’t need to knock down all ten pins to get a strike. In nine-pin no-tap bowling, the bowler is not obliged to knock down all ten balls. The bowler has to only knock down nine pins for a strike.

In a nine-pin game, pins are slightly bigger than those used in a 10-pin game. Unlike the 10-pin game where pins form a triangle shape, a nine-pin game has the pins lined up to create a diamond shape; located at the center of the formation is the #9 pins in the color red called KingPin.

No matter how many bowlers it takes, there is no score unless all pins are down or the #9 red pins are left. The scoring is according to the overall team score and not on individual points.

Nine-pin no-tap bowling is a widespread practice to give less talented and new bowlers a playing advantage over pro bowlers. For example, in a friendly match between adults and children, a nine-pin no-tap format can provide a better playing lead for kids over their parents.

How to Play Ninepin Bowling?

Although tenpin bowling is more prevalent in the US than nine-pin bowling, nine-pin bowling is played in Texas and is played popularly in Europe. The bowling game is played with nine pins set in a diamond pattern with the King Pin at the center.

As the most common form of no-tap bowling, nine-pin allows any bowler a strike if he nails down nine or more pins on his first ball. Knocking down all ten pins is not necessary to receive a strike.

A strike in bowling is a scoring system marked as X on the score sheet. It is equivalent to 10 points and a bonus of whatever score you get on your next two turns. Also the score on the two remaining balls after the strike is doubled, giving the player and his team an additional scoring advantage.

If a player knocks down the remaining pins to get all nine pins in the second throw, it is a spare. It gives a player ten points and a bonus of whatever score with the next ball. A spare is a bowling term indicating that all pins have been knocked down on the second ball when not all pins are nailed down during the player’s first two turns.

What are the Rules for Nine-Pin No-Tap Bowling?

The rules for a nine-pin no-tap bowling game are generally similar to a regular bowling game except for a strike when a player knocks down nine or ten pins on his first ball. The idea is that you don’t get a penalty for throwing a good ball but leaving one pin standing.

A nine-pin no-tap game consists of 6 bowlers with six frames. A team captain calls the rotation of the bowlers. The first team will bowl the first three throws in one lane and then switch to the other team’s lane to bowl the remaining frames. Each player is given two balls to throw no matter what the score is on the first throw.

A bowler can get the highest possible score of 24 points per frame if a player cuts a strike. Suppose the bowler did not get a strike. In that case, he could use the second ball for a spare; if he does not score, then no score is given for the said player. Another bowler from the team can finish the task by knocking down the remaining pins.

There is no score earned until all pins are down or the red pin is left. Regardless of how many bowlers attempted to knock the pins down, the score will depend on the number of pins nailed down by the last bowler’s last ball.

Why was Nine-Pin Bowling Banned in the US?

Until the early nineteenth century, nine-pin bowling was a popular form of bowling in the US and Europe. In the 1830s, nine-pin bowling was banned in the US. It was eventually declared illegal due to social concerns over the supposed evil influences of the game. Workers are taking time off to play rather than go to work.

Another reason was the game’s alleged involvement in cultivating a culture of crime and violence. Bowling gained a bad reputation because bowling alleys are mostly in bars and pubs, and immoral activities such as gambling and drinking were associated with it.

Some changes were made in the rules of the game as a way for it to be legal. Players also added a tenth pin to get around the law, thus giving rise to the more popular and modern tenpin bowling.

Final Words

I hope this article gave you additional insights and knowledge about the concept of nine-pin no-tap bowling. Thank you for reading!