A Guide To Bowling Brackets

Brackets are a great way of increasing your enjoyment of bowling tournaments, and potentially making some money too!

Each bowler pays the entry fee amount (usually £5) prior to competition.

They are then randomly drawn against another player for each game of competition. Brackets in PTBC events are scratch, except that where there is a ladies bonus, this will also count for brackets. Essentially, brackets are a type of "pot game" in which bowlers can compete directly against other bowlers during league or tournament play.

The winner of the heads-up match moves on to the second round in the bracket competition with all of the other winners from the first game. The loser is then eliminated in that bracket.

This elimination process happens after each game and the winners of the third game win the pay out for the bracket. A common 3-game bracket would consist of 8 bowlers per bracket. There are bracket formats allowing for two games of competition and others for a greater number of games in competition.

Starting with 8 bowlers after game 1 there are now 4 bowlers left. The bracket tree causes the 4 bowlers to be paired into 2 groups of 2 bowlers. After the 2nd game, the bowler with the higher score in their bracket pairing would move on to the final bracket level. Now there are 2 bowlers and they bowl against each other. The bowler with the highest 3rd game would get the Winners share of the money and the other bowler would get the Runner-up share of the money. It is possible to enter into multiple brackets thereby increasing chances of winning money.

An example of a common bracket payout formula is based on a typical 3-game bracket which would cost each bowler £5.00; 8 bowlers times £5.00 is a total prize fund of £40.00. There is usually a £5.00 administrative charge (this is the money paid to the person running the brackets). That leaves £35.00 in the prize fund. This money is usually a split £25.00 for the Winner share and £10.00 for the runner-up.


Bowlers can enter more than one bracket to increase their chances of winning. Commonly at events a bowler may ask to go in 'ALL' brackets, and then once the entries are in, the organiser can confirm how many brackets are running.