Strings of Strikes in Bowling

What to Call Every Strike You Throw

Bowling ball and pins
 Getty Images/Douglas Sacha

Knocking down all 10 pins in one throw is the ultimate goal in bowling, and it's no small feat. Done on the first attempt in any of the 10 frames of bowling, it's called a strike, and represented with an "X" in the score sheet. When you throw consecutive strikes, it's called a Double, and three in a row is the classic Turkey, but from there, things get a little less official.

Starting Strikes

A Turkey, or third consecutive strike, is the most widely-known name for a string of strikes, and might trigger a picture of a turkey to the scoring screen. But to get there, you must roll your first strike, or a Jim J. Bullock, who is best known for his appearances on Hollywood Squares, a TV game show that pits X versus O in tic-tac-toe. Follow up with a strike in the second frame and you've thrown a Double, and you're ready for the Turkey, which in the 1800s was the real-life reward some bowlers received for three strikes in a row.

Baggers and Other Strike Strings

Without traditional names for other strings of strikes, bowlers and fans have taken to name the entire set of 12, though some of those names are not widely recognized. However, it's generally accepted that the word "bagger" can be added to any number to describe a string of strikes, so five in a row is 5-bagger, and 10 is 10-bagger.

ESPN commentator Rob Stone is credited with calling four strikes a Hambone, and the term has been adopted by many bowlers. Rolling five in a row is often referred to as a Brat, for the number of sausages that come in a package, while six strikes is sometimes called a Wild Turkey (for two turkeys in a row) or a Bratburger, with the idea that no amount of food will satisfy a bowler who's got six but is hungry for a perfect 12. Seven strikes, then, is sometimes called a Ham-Turkey Dinner for a string of four strikes (Hambone) a string of three (Turkey). An eight-bagger is sometimes called LPB, for Little Big Pete, while a Golden Turkey, for three straight Turkeys or nine consecutive strikes, can be referenced as Gordie Howe, who wore the number nine playing hockey.

Perfect String of Strikes

Rolling a strike in each of the first nine frames is quite an accomplishment, but the pressure is then on in the 10th frame, when you have a possibility of three rolls. Rolling 10 strikes to start a game is called a Front 10, while an 11th strike is sometimes called One Day From Retirement because many amateur bowlers go their entire career without rolling 12 strikes in a single game. That final strike gives you a Perfect Game, or 300 (the total points you just scored).

Front and Back Strings

Starting a game with a string of strikes gives you a front string, such as Front Six if you bowled consecutive strikes in the first six frames. Similarly, ending the game with strikes gives you a back string, such as a Back Six if you roll strikes in the seventh, eighth, and ninth frames and then three in the 10th.

Ultimate String

Rolling 36 strikes in a row to complete three Perfect Games gives you a 900 Series, which references the 300 points you earned per game.