What Is the Best Bowling Score Without a Strike?

Bowling is a sport wherein you have to hit as many pins as you can. So naturally, scoring a strike is the most ideal, and getting a spare is next. However, how many points can you get in a single game without ever scoring a strike?

This brings us the question: What is the maximum score you can get without a strike? The answer is 190 points. It’s the highest score you can attain without ever hitting a strike. Therefore, to earn more points, you need strikes.

Scoring 190 Points with Spares

Everyone knows that the next best shot to hit a strike is hitting a spare. However, to get the highest score without ever hitting a strike, you must hit the spares in a certain way. For you to get the most points in a single frame with spares, on the first shot, you have to knock down nine pins.

Then on your second shot, you have to hit the last remaining pin on the next shot. You should do this on every frame until the last frame. So, you have to knock down nine pins on the last frame, then hit the last pin on the next shot, and then finally another nine pins on the last shot.

This way, you can achieve a score of 190, which is the highest possible score without ever hitting a strike in a single game. 

What Is the Highest Score You Can Attain Without a Strike or Spare?

Ninety points are the highest score you can achieve without ever hitting a spare or a strike. To score the highest possible score with spare alone, you have to knock down a specific number of pins per shot. However, in this case, you only need to hit a total of nine pins on every frame.

Therefore, you can hit nine on the first shot, then miss the next shot. Likewise, you can also hit eight on the first shot then hit another one on the next shot. In both scenarios, you would only earn a total of 9 points.

To better understand why, you should know that a single bowling game has ten frames, which is why the highest score you can attain without strikes or spares is 90.

Therefore, to get 90 points without hitting spares or strikes, you can hit any number of pins on each shot as long as the total number of pins you knock down on each frame totals 9.

How Important Is a Strike?

Simply put, hitting a strike means hitting all of the pins in a single shot. By itself, a strike is worth 10 points. One pin is worth one point, and since there are ten pins, a strike is worth 10 points. However, the scoring system of strikes doesn’t just end there.

A strike can also be worth up to 30 points. How? When you score a strike, the score of the next frame is added to the 10 points. Are you confused yet? Well, think of it this way, the score of the next frame is added to the score of the previous frame.

If you score another strike on the next frame, then the score of the third frame will be added as well. Thus, if you score another strike on the third frame once again, the score would be 30 since 10 points plus the 20 points scored in the previous frame.

Getting three strikes in a row is considered very difficult in bowling, even amongst professional players. If you see someone do three strikes in a row, he is probably a highly competitive and experienced player.

However, getting three strikes in a row can also happen to recreational players who are simply lucky. In bowling terms, three consecutive strikes are called a turkey.

To sum everything up, a single strike is worth 10 points, which is 1 point for every pin you knockdown. However, the score on the next frame will be added if you score a strike. So, accomplishing three consecutive strikes will give you a score of 30 points.

The Importance of the 10th Frame

The last frame in a standard bowling game of 10 pins is the tenth frame. A player can make two shots per frame in the first nine frames if he does not score a strike on the first shot. However, in the 10th frame, players have an additional attempt.

This means that in the last frame, you are guaranteed to make three shots. Because of this, a whole game of bowling has a maximum capacity of 21 shots.  

Many players consider the 10th frame as the most crucial frame in the entire game. This is because it is the last chance to earn points and catch up to your opponent if you are behind. Furthermore, you are guaranteed three shots. 

However, it is essential to remember that since there are no more frames after the tenth frame, there will be no more points added after the tenth frame than the other frames.

Therefore, the maximum number of points you can get in the tenth frame is still 30 points. However, because of the guaranteed three shots, you have a higher chance of attaining the 30 points. 

Final Thoughts

To summarize, the highest possible score that you can attain without ever hitting strikes is 190. However, you must hit nine pins on every first shot and then hit the last remaining pin, thus scoring a spare.

Additionally, you must do this for the first nine frames than on the 10th frame wherein you have three shots, and you must hit nine on the first shot, hit the last one pin scoring a spare, and then hitting nine pins again.

Strikes are the most critical shot in bowling, and you can rack up several points by hitting several strikes in a row. This is because the points of the next frame will be added to the points of the previous frame if you hit a strike on the last frame.

The tenth frame is the last frame and the most crucial frame in bowling. In the tenth frame, you are guaranteed three shots.