View Full Version : Startling bowling result

10-02-2002, 11:03 AM
Where I bowl there is a jackpot which you win by making 9 strikes in 9 particular frames. My friend was considering entering the jackpot, so I asked him how many strikes he averages per game. He said 6. This would be out of 11 tries since you average 2 tries in the final frame. So his probability of striking is 6/11, and his chance of winning the jackpot is (6/11)^9 = 235-1. Since it costs $5 to enter the jackpot, it would need to be over $1175 to enter, and it is sometimes over this amount.

Then I calculated how big it needed to be for me to enter. I average 4 strikes per game, so the odds of me winning the jackpot are (4/11)^9 = 8996 to 1! The jackpot would have to be over 45 grand for me to enter as opposed to just $1175 for my friend, and that's just with a difference of 2 strikes per game.

10-02-2002, 02:15 PM
bruce, a difference of "just" two strikes per game is still a 1.5 fold advantage for your friend. this advantage starts big; of course it's going to get huge after 9 trials.

we know from games like blackjack that even tiny edges are devastating in the long run, so it shouldn't come as a shock that the relatively large 3-2 advantage you describe here is also devastating.

so, perhaps taking side bets on strikes is better than counting cards.

10-02-2002, 04:15 PM
There's no question he will have a big advantage over me in 9 frames, but when it came up that he was a 235-1 dog and I was almost a 9 THOUSAND-1 dog, I initally assumed I had too many beers and typed the numbers into my calculator wrong.

10-02-2002, 11:16 PM
Bruce, I often wonder whether we can really assume independence in these sport game estimates. Can we forecast the record number of strikes for a person given his average number of strikes?

For your friend, assuming he plays 150 games a year for 10 years, it is more or less likely that he will have a 300 game. Did he ever get one?

10-03-2002, 01:45 AM
I've heard about a study of professional athletes that disproved the concept of hot and cold games. For example, a basketball player would not have an exceptionally good shooting night any more frequently than his overall shooting statistics would dictate. I suppose this may suggest a sort of independence depending on what statistics were used.

On the other hand, I definitely feel that I am a fundamentally better bowler on some days than on others. If I start off striking, I am more likely to keep striking. Some of this may be an illusion too. Often a player will bowl a top game followed immediately by a mediocre game. He will say he "lost the recipie". Much of this may be that he never really had the recipie, but just got lucky. Since we are constantly making mental and physical adjustments, we tend to credit a success to our last adjustment. We can make the same adjustment the next day or even the next game with poor results.

As for my friend, he has only been bowling a couple years but has already bowled a 290 game with 11 strikes in a row. Many amateurs have been bowling all their lives without a 300 game, while some have had several.

10-03-2002, 05:37 AM
Assuming independence is very tough in these situations.
We used to take advantage of the "bowl all day" offers at our local bowling alley (Bowling in England is so expensive that you guys would cringe)
A regular pattern (we would bowl 40 games in a day) would be to start of around 120. The scores would increase to around 160 and then drop off again.
After concentration had been regained, the scores would build up again and we could bowl several 180s in a row.
On almost every occasion that I have bowled a 200 (At my level this is like a 300 to a good player) my next game has been hideous.
Also bowling with an opponent is harder if they are having a terrible game.
When my friend got our first ever 200 game, I beat him in that game!!!!

10-03-2002, 07:06 AM
The lane conditions play a big factor, and the oil patterns change as play goes on. At times there is a hard wall worn into the oil which tends to keep balls online into the pocket. Shots inside do not drift too far inside, and shots outside come hooking back into play. If it's severe enough (and you are a good bowler) you almost have to try to miss. Lanes start out with a certain oil pattern (which also varies with the house), and then dry out in certain areas causing greater hook. Sometimes oil carries further down the lane causing a delayed hook for balls thrown in that region. Depending on your style, you will get better or worse as conditions change. This also depends on the line your opponent is using, and even on the type of balls being used. A large part of bowling is figuring out how to adapt quickly to the oil patterns as they are changing. As you tire, you tend to change your timing and throw the ball slower. This results in greater hook.

How much is bowling in England? 40 games per person??? That's nuts, 8 games at a stretch is alot. Do you have alot of 10-pin bowling there, not lawn bowling? /forums/images/icons/smile.gif

10-03-2002, 07:52 AM
Typically you would pay around $12-15 for three games.
If you play the all day offer it is about $12 for 9 hours /forums/images/icons/laugh.gif

I bowl straight, so I can never get a 300 game, I have calculated long ago that my highest of 214 is about as good as I can get without learning to hook /forums/images/icons/frown.gif

A city over here would have one or two bowling alleys, but it is considered an unusual night out,most people probably go no more than twice a year.

10-04-2002, 12:16 PM
lorinda - I sent you a pm about becoming a hooker....er, someone who throws hooks.

10-04-2002, 12:45 PM
The only way to bowl a 290 is 11 strikes followed by a gutterball. Not a very believable claim!

10-04-2002, 01:04 PM
Try again. Any spare in the 1st frame followed by 11 strikes gives 290.

10-05-2002, 03:35 AM
i bowl every wednesday night, with a bunch of friends. it is super cheap. $2 for shoe rentals (i can't commit to a pair of my own...) and $1.25 per game. but... we know the guy who runs the show down there, and quite often our shoes or our bowling or both are comped. great fun. we all suck though. i have a blast bowling. i usually throw a 10-pound ball (thats fairly light for a guy like me). but i don't put my fingers in the holes. i put my fingertips in the 2 fingerholes, and just grip the ball, and toss it for some severe hook. when im concentrating i can do ok (ok for me is breaking 120. my best game is a 206). i usually average 100. but thats because we start f***in around, and tossing the 6pound balls, and the 15pound balls, and bowling for form, and throwing lefty, and trying for the most extreme hooks, etc. i have actually ridden the right edge of the lane for about 30% of the distance of the lane, then hooked left so severely as to miss all the pins. its fun. i enjoy it, but i would enjoy more having a diagram of exactly what angle is optimum for hitting the right pocket. i seem to always hit it beautifully, but leave one pin. probably 9 of ten times i DON'T strike, i hit the pocket solid, but leave one pin (7 or 10, mostly). any advice? anybody wanna go bowling in chicago?

10-05-2002, 05:51 AM
As the angle to the pocket increases, your margin for error increases, so your probability of striking increases. Note it isn't how much hook you have, but the angle to the pocket. If you can throw the ball deep before it hooks, it can generate a steep angle without crossing back and forth across as many boards as if it hooked early. The bigger the hook (as in removing thumb from ball) the less accurate you are.

Leaving the 10 or 7 pin is common. Leaving the 10 comes from hitting the head pin too much towards the middle (high hit) and leaving the 7 comes from hitting it too light on the right side. You move your feet about a board to the left for a high hit, and a board to the right for a light hit, only after you know you've made a good shot. So you move in the direction you are missing. If you see a pin flying up and around the 10-pin, that is a pretty good shot, and you just got unlucky. Don't adjust for this. If it happens repeatedly, try throwing the ball a little harder either by holding it higher in your approach, or by changing your starting position on the lane, usually about 6 inches further back, but you can try moving forwards as well.

House balls will not usually hit as hard as good urethane or reactive balls you buy yourself, and the fingers insert too far, making it more difficult to hook. You want a fingertip grip, with fingers inserting to the first knuckle. Some say you should wait until you have a 150 average for this, but some say go for it right away.

10-06-2002, 01:24 AM
thanks bruce. i'll keep this in mind when i play. most of my friends are straight shooters, tossing down the center, or just off center at the pocket, and tossing hard. they do alright. they are used to it, and it works for them. i enjoy a good hook that ends up with a strike. so i toss for strikes. i used to toss the orange 6-pounder, but i found it wasn't doing the job, heft-wise. i tried the pink 8's but they sucked too. the ten's seemed a good fit for heft and maneuverability. i keep an 8pound around for the spares, like picking up a 6-10. thats not so easy to do, hook-wise (with a right hook, anyway) but i can do it failry well with the slightly lighter balls. i have a blast either way, so i'll try to adjust the way you say for leftover pin problem. thanks.

10-06-2002, 03:30 AM
6, 8s, and 10s are for children; you'd overpower them and they don't carry as well. Men use 15 or 16. Women use 12-14. Sometimes you have to go a pound or so lighter to get the right fit in a house ball.

10-06-2002, 05:17 AM
The reason that our results were not independent was that because of shooting straight, and hence very little margin for error, we needed to get "in the zone" when playing, this would typically come after 20 or so games when we were tired and had stopped gossiping and the only thing we could think about was hitting the pocket!
As soon as a high (175+) game was bowled, we would start talking about it and the next game would typically be about 110.
I believe my average in 3 game night was around 125 but in a 40 game series would be nearer 140!!!

10-09-2002, 05:21 AM
bruce, i realize that 6s 8s and 10s are for kids. but they are much easier to hook. i find the 10 the best ball for hook-to-control ratio. my arm freakin hurts after tossing anything heavier for a couple games. and im a rather large, strong man. if i dont care much in the long run, but would make a simple adjustment such as using a heavier ball in order to achieve a better game, would this be advisable? i think the problem is that i don't stick my thumb in the thumb hole. i use the tips of my fingers in the other 2 holes, and palm the ball on my approach. i dont plan on changing this style. a heavier ball is likely to yield wilder results from me (it seems like...). although i had a good night with a 15-pounder.

10-09-2002, 02:10 PM
I've had several 200+ games, with a high of 244... and I just throw the ball straight.

How did you calculate this, or are you messing around?


10-09-2002, 02:40 PM
I dont remember exactly how I did it, but basically I used simple graphs to show me that it looked grim, and also the number of strikes per game gave me the probability that I would throw one more (which also looked grim). This tails off significantly for each extra strike required when you are as mediocre as me, and I concluded that it just wasnt worth it anymore /forums/images/icons/frown.gif Im sure Ill try again one day though /forums/images/icons/laugh.gif
Bruce's post confirms this inevitablitly even more Im afraid.

10-10-2002, 03:31 AM
i bowled tonight. i bowled fairly average for me for my 2 games (117 and 112). not that great, and i had way too many open frames. i was constantly cutting JUST early on all my spares, and kept missing them, which caused me considerable frustration.

but then, after we bowled our 2 games (we usually bowl 2 games, then go get tacos) i just kept throwing, over and over. must have thrown about 50 frames.

i left only 3 frames open, that entire series of frames.

and i had 22 strikes (though no more than 3 in a row).

probably the best 5 games i have ever bowled in my life, and i didnt record them. just kept throwing. and i used all 10 pound balls (i usually keep a couple in the rack, so i don't have to wait for the same ball over and over again. im so impatient sometimes).

one interesting note was that more than half of my strikes were right hooks but hitting the headpin on the left side...