During league play, you will see many teams compete among themselves by playing a version of poker. For every strike or spare, cards are drawn from a central deck and at the end of the game, the best poker hand wins. I’ve seen where two separate leagues in a bowling center got together and used several card decks to accommodate the number of players participating.
I’d like to introduce three other games that can add excitement to a night of bowling:
(1) “SYNDICATE” -A version of “skins” that is played in Golf. Before the start of each game, everyone antes up an amount easily divisible by 10 (since there are ten frames in a bowling game and only the first ball in the 10th frame counts).
Basic rules of “Syndicate” –
a) If you are the only person to strike in a frame, you win; if not, it carries over to the next frame.
b) Let’s say that each frame is valued at a quarter so each game, everyone kicks in $2.50.
c) There are 4 people, so each frame is worth $1.00.
d) If you are the only one to strike in the 1st frame, you take out $1.00; if two or more people strike, the $1.00 carries over so the next frame is worth $2.00, and so on until someone wins the pot that’s built up.
e) Theoretically, then, if there are no “syndicates” in an entire game, there will be (on a 4-person team) $10.00 carry to the next game and the first frame of the next game will be worth $11.00.
f) We used to carry the pool over to the following week if no one cleaned out the pot at the end of the 3rd game; but, some teams just divided the remainder at the end of the night so that each person got some money back..
(2) “BLIND DRAW DOUBLES” – it is your option whether you inform the chosen team of what you are doing. As a courtesy, we did, but there were others who did not.
a) Pick a complete team with no vacancies or absentees on a nearby lane from where you are.
b) Write down each player’s name from that team on a slip of paper.
c) Each person on your team picks one of the slips with a player’s name. (They have been placed face down so you can’t see the names.)
d) That is their doubles partner for the night.
e) Your entry fee can be any amount. Our team usually does $2.00 per game and the same amount for series total so we kick in $8.00 to the prize fund.
f) High score decides the winner (your option for scratch or handicap).
(3) “BEST FRAME GAME” – If you know how to keep score, this game will sharpen your scorekeeping skills; If you don’t know how to keep score, this game will help you learn.
a) Draw the ten frames (including the 11th and 12th) on a sheet of paper 4 times for each person playing. (Looking at what you have drawn, it would be four complete blank games for each player.)
b) If someone on your team knows how to use a spreadsheet program, they can devise a printed one — a lot of times, you can ask the bowling center if they have blank score sheets.
c) You bowl three games in league, duplicating the electronic scorer and marking the results on your score sheet for each of the three games you bowl. The 4th will be used for compiling your “Best Frame Game.”
d) After your three games are completed, you will move the best frame of the three down into the 4th scorekeeping game. The highest score of the composite game is the winner.
f) Example: 1st game, 1st frame – 9 and spare; 2nd game, 1st frame – 8 and open; 3rd game, 1st frame – strike. The strike moves into the 1st frame of the composite (4th) game because the strike is the “Best Frame of the three.” You do this for the first 9 frames.
g) For the 10th frame, it is treated as one whole frame; for example: 1st game 10th frame – Strike, 9 and spare; 2nd game, 10th frame – Strike, Strike, 7; 3rd game, 10th frame – 8 and spare and 7. The 2nd game 10th frame is the “Best Frame.”
h) You can play scratch or handicap. You can set your own entry fee.
A little friendly competition among teammates and friends is always fun. Instead of using money, you could devise some sort of a point system as the reward for the winner.
A note of caution, however – side games can be fun; but, always exercise caution because some people, even if they are the best of friends, may take it too seriously.