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Bowlliards Rules

The billiards game of bowlliards has an obvious reference to bowling in the name and the game play is quite similar. Bowlliards is one of the few cue sport games that can be played without needing a partner or a competing shooter. Since there is a possibility of a perfect score in bowling it makes the game ideal for individuals. The same is true of the game of bowlliards.

Below are the detailed rules of the bowlliards billiard game.

Type of Game

Bowlliards applies the scoring concepts of bowling to the game of pocket billiards. Like bowling, there is a perfect score to strive for. For this reason, bowlliards is a good solo practice and training game. The scoring allows you to track whether or not you are improving.


Any number of players or teams can play. Bowlliards can also be played with just one player.

Balls Used in Bowlliards

The game of bowlliards uses any ten object balls plus cue ball. The ten billiards balls are set in a 1-2-3-4 diamond rack as pictured below.

Bowlliards Rack

The balls are racked in a standard triangle position with the front apex ball on foot spot. Notice the last row of 5 balls is absent. This is so that we can mimic the pin set-up used in 10-pin bowling. (see picture below)

How to Rack the Balls in Bowlliards Rules

Below is a picture showing the proper way to set up the rack in Bowlliards Rules

Bowlliards Rules racking diagram showing how to rack the balls in Bowlliards Rules #1

Object of the Game

In Bowlliards, as in bowling, the goal is to achieve a perfect score of 300 in 10 frames. Or, when playing against an opponent, shoot a higher score.

Scoring in Bowlliards

Each legally pocketed ball is scored as one point regardless of the ball number. The points scored as per the Rules of Play below are treated exactly as in regular bowling.

Handicapping in bowlliards is done in exactly the same way as in bowling. A bowlliards handicap is a percentage of the difference between a player’s average score and a basis score that is higher than all players in a league.

bowlliards.com has provided some great bowlliards score sheets. Get yours now. Don't end up with a whiteboard looking like this:

Bowlliards scoring example

Opening Break

In Bowlliards, at the start of a the player’s frame, he has a free break meaning that the player doesn’t have to pocket a ball to continue playing.

If one or more balls are pocketed in the break shot, they are spotted back on the table and the player starts its scoring play with the cue-ball-in-hand behind the head string.

The opening break takes place at the start of every frame.

Bowlliards Rules of Play

In bowlliards, a legally pocketed ball entitles the player to continue at the table until failing to pocket a called ball on a shot or scoring 10, the maximum total per frame. The player must designate a single ball and a pocket into which the ball will score. The shooter need not indicate kisses, caroms, combinations, or cushions, none of which are illegal.

As in bowling, the player has two chances to pocket all 10 balls in each frame. If he does it on the first try, it is a strike. If he takes two tries, it is a spare. If after his 2 tries, some balls are still on the table, that is an open frame and his score is the number of balls pocketed after his two tries.

A strike in the tenth frame earns two extra shots and a spare, one extra shot.

If the score is tie after the game, players go in to “sudden death” and play additional frames. The first player to post a higher score in a frame is the winner.

IIlegally Pocketed Balls

In bowlliards, illegally pocketed balls are spotted.

Object Balls Jumped off of the Table

Object balls jumped off the table are spotted. The stroke is a foul and the penalty for fouls is followed.

Cue Ball After a Scratch or Jumping off the Table

Only apply if occurring as a player’s first foul of a frame. Player has cue ball in hand behind the head string to begin his second chance of the frame.

Penalty for Fouls

One point is deducted from offender’s score for each foul. If a foul ends the player’s first chance of a frame, he has cue ball in hand behind the head string to begin his second chance of the frame.

bowlliards.com has provided a bowlliards rules PDF version for easy printing.

Bowlliards Rules

If you have any questions about Bowlliards Rules, please post them in the pool rules forum.

...or view existing Bowlliards Rules questions in the forum.

Bowlliards Rules History

If anyone has any documented or prove-able history or origin information about this game, please contact us using the form below. Please include any and all supporting incormation. We'll be sure to give you full credit for the information you provide.

The official Bowlliards Rules are predominently observed in North America.

The official governing body for Bowlliards Rules is the Unoficially, the folks at bowlliards.com seem to be the primary "organization" pushing bowlliards at present..

How to Play Bowlliards

  • Title: Bowlliards Rules
  • Author: (Billiards Forum)
  • Published: 9/20/2016 5:28:18 PM
  • Last Updated: 3/15/2017 4:51:10 PM
  • Last Updated By: billiardsforum

Bowlliards Rules

The Bowlliards Rules article belongs to the Miscellaneous Billiard Game Rules category. The miscellaneous billiards class of cue sport games includes games that are not technically members of the traditional five classes of billiard games.

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