9 Pin No-Tap Bowling: All You Need to Know

Bowling has evolved in terms of techniques, such as the introduction of two-handed bowling. Over the years, many rules have constantly been changing. Today, there are more than five types of bowling games. One of them is a 9 pin no-tap.

Usually, when bowling, there is one stubborn pin left behind. You get a strike in 9 pin, no-tap format even if you pin down nine pins and not ten. It encourages newbies to take part in tournaments and compete against professionals.

No, the game is not as complicated as the name sounds. So, what is a 9 pin no-tap? We will discuss this question in-depth. Read to know everything there is to know about 9 pin no-tap bowling.

Origin Of Bowling

Before jumping into the comparatively new format, let’s discuss how the origin of this sport. In the 1930s, Sir Flinders Petrie, an English anthropologist, discovered collections from the Egyptian grave, where he observed a crude form of bowling. The burial dates back to 3200 BC. Yes, that old. 

Bowling is one of the most popular indoor sports. The popularity of bowling was at its peak during the 1960s, but it suffered a massive decline after that. But today, the story is different from being a $ 4 billion industry in 2014 to one of the fastest-growing sports businesses worth $10 billion in just four years.  

In terms of substantial evidence, historians have found that a vogue form of bowling existed in the era of King Edward III in 1366. He had further reserved bowling for his troops to enhance their aim for archery. Hence, I can state that bowling was a reasonably famous game in his era. 

The Germans and Britishers brought the game of bowling to America in different formats. They discovered the first evidence of the game in Nova Scotia in 1650. 

Since then, the game has evolved and grown in popularity. Today, over 80 countries are playing bowling with millions of fans across the globe. In America alone, more than 2 million people are with USBC or the United States Bowling Congress. 

What is 9 Pin No-Tap Bowling?

There are multiple theories about the origin, but we can all agree that it’s fascinating. 

Now, let’s move forward in our quest to understand 9 pin no-tap bowling. 

If you’re a regular or even a once in a blue moon bowler, you must have faced situation where you had a near-perfect strike but just left with that one stubborn pin. And yes, it is very frustrating and could also cost the game. 

The format of no-tap bowling started to counter that one stubborn pin and make the game more satisfying. In no-tap bowling, you get a strike even if you pin down nine pins with, yes, that one stubborn pin staring at your face. But kudos to you; you still get a strike!

The Need Of ‘No-Tap’ Bowling

The no-tap format also has a motivational factor that allows less skilled players or aspiring bowlers to compete with professionals. No tap bowling is also an effective way of encouraging kids and young bowlers to enjoy bowling.  


‘No-tap’ is not just limited to nine-pin bowling, but there are also other versions like eight pin no-tap, seven-pin no-tap, and can go on till one or even 0, but it would be impractical.

Where do you see nine-pin no-tap bowling

Mostly you observe this format during tournaments. It is limited to singles, but a 9 pin no-tap is also a play among quads, trios, and doubles. 

Pro-am tournaments use no-tap pin bowling to encourage regular players to compete against the Professional Bowlers Association or PBA bowlers. This format makes it easier for the former and makes the match more uniform in terms of the competition.  

Seldom will you find some bowling centers that conduct the 9-pin format, but it’s not common among the centers. 

How to Play 9 pin No-Tap Bowling

Now that we know what is 9 pin no-tap bowling let us understand how this game differs from other formats. 

The rules of 9 pin no-tap bowling are almost similar to conventional tenpin bowling. The only difference is that you get a strike even if you pin down nine pins rather than knocking down all the ten pins. You will sweep the pins, and it will be the next player’s turn to bowl. 

Whether you pin down nine pins or ten in terms of scoring, you’re getting a strike! Apart from that, it’s similar to tenpin bowling. 

And if you can strike down all the ten pins, well, what are you doing in the no-tap format? Just kidding, in all honesty, no-tap bowling is fun and more rewarding. So why not enjoy it!

What about the spares in 9 pin no-tap?

For instance, you pin down seven or eight pins with three or two pins reaming. You have to hit the spare like in the conventional game. In simple words, if you have more than a single pin remaining in your first attempt, you have to hit the spares. 

For example, suppose you have hit six pins and have four pins remaining. To receive the spare, you will have to knock down all four of them. Yes, no compensation in the second attempt! 

Types of Bowling

To holistically understand what a 9 pin no-tap is, we must be aware of the other different sports types. Here are five major types of bowling apart from the 9 pin no-tap:

10 Pin Bowling

  • Also known as Tenpin Bowling, it is the most prevalent type of bowling game. The rules for the 10-pin format were created more than a century ago, in 1895. Most bowling alleys in the USA conduct tenpin bowling and prefer this format over others. 
  • Usually, a three-finger, heavy ball is used to play 10-pin bowling. It usually weighs from 6 to 16 lbs. 
  • The height and width of the pin must be 15 inches and 4.7 inches, respectively. The weight of the pins differs between 3 lbs., 6 oz, and 3 lbs., 10 oz. Tenpins have an arrangement in a ‘frame’ or a triangle arrangement. 
  • There are ten frames, with each frame offering two turns maximum and a minimum of one. If a player strikes down in his first shot, they only need one turn. 

9 Pin Bowling

  • One might think, how does one pin affect the game. But in reality, 9-pin bowling is very different from tenpin bowling. 
  • Unlike tenpin, it is a team game, and there are no individual scores. Each team consists of 6 members, with a leader as the captain or the caller. 
  • There are six frames where each member bowls once. 
  • The frame is arranged in a diamond shape with a red pin in the middle. Now the twist is, a team that strikes down all the pins receives 9 points. But a team that strikes down all the pins except the red pin will receive 12 points. 

5 Pin Bowling

  • One of Canada’s most popular bowling formats, five-pin bowling is an exciting version of tenpin bowling. 
  • The pins are in a triangle formation, with each pin having a different value. 
  • The ball used is smaller than 9 or 10 pin bowling. They are manufactured using rubber and have no finger holes. Similarly, the pins are also smaller in dimensions. 
  • Like a tenpin, five-pin bowling also has ten frames, with each one offers three turns. 

Candlepin Bowling

  • Candlepin bowling started to make the game more challenging. As the pins are thin, it makes it tougher to pin them down. 
  • Candlepin bowling uses the most petite balls in the game. The usual diameter is 4.5 inches with a weight of 2lbs, 7oz.
  • As mentioned above, these pins are thin, but they are also tall and narrow, making it more challenging for players to succeed. 
  • Like the 10 and 5 pins, candlepin has ten frames called ‘boxes.’ Each frame offers three turns to knock them down. 

 Duckpin bowling

  • Consider Duckpin to be somewhere between tenpin and candlepin. The shape is similar to the tenpin pins, but it is more challenging to knock them down. Here’s why:
  • The pins are fatter and smaller than the ones used in tenpin bowling. But what makes it challenging is that the duckpins are lighter in weight. 
  • The ball used is also soft and small in size. It has no finger holes and weighs up to 3.75lbs.
  • It has ten frames with three turns in each frame. 

Wrapping Up

That brings us to a conclusion on what is 9 pin no-tap bowling. While some believe that the no-tap format degrades the sport’s quality, as you just read, it helps to encourage players and allows young ones to compete with professionals. 

Moreover, isn’t the primary reason for playing a sport is to have fun? 9 pin no-tap sure excels for that reason. So, do try this format and let us know what you think about it. 

Happy Bowling!