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Skee-Ball® Tips and Tricks: How to Play Skee-Ball®

Updated: Mar 29

Skee-Ball® is a game anyone can play, making it a lot of fun for groups. Players can find Skee-Ball® ball setups at nearly any arcade, and high-quality home setups are a sure party favorite. Whether you like playing for fun or want to become a Skee-Ball® master, understanding the rules and fundamentals will help you find more enjoyment in the game. This guide covers the inner workings of Skee-Ball® and discusses strategies that can elevate your game.

How to Play Skee-Ball®

The Skee-Ball® game consists of three essential elements — the lane, a set of masonite or dense plastic balls and a scoring area.

The lane is generally between 10 and 13 feet long for a typical arcade game, though there are models specifically designed for homeowners, like our Home Arcade Premium Version, with a much smaller footprint more suited to homes.

Regardless of size, the lane ends with a ramp that sends the ball up toward the scoring area, which contains various holes.The objective is for the player to roll one ball at a time up the ramp and into one of the holes.

Skee-Ball® is a score-based game, meaning you play to get the highest possible score. While there are tournament varieties, most people play Skee-Ball® at an arcade. In these situations, you receive a greater award — usually tickets you can redeem for prizes — for having a higher score.

The only way to receive points in Skee-Ball® is by rolling your ball up the ramp and into a hole. Each hole has an associated number that determines how many points you receive for making a shot in that hole. Some holes are easier to make than others, so the most challenging holes yield the most points. Low holes down the center of the board award the fewest points, while holes toward the top corners are the most valuable.

Most Skee-Ball® games feature center-aligned holes with point options ranging from 10 to 50 in 10-point increments and a 100-point slot in each of the top corners. During a game, the player will roll nine balls per round. The machine tallies points as balls pass through a hole and provide the corresponding reward at the end of the round. In competitive matchups, the player with the highest score after a set number of rounds wins.

Skee-Ball® Tips and Tricks

When you want to bump up the competition or achieve a new high score, learning the best strategies and fundamentals can improve your game. Here are some Skee-Ball® tips and things to keep in mind to help you play like a pro:

  • Develop a strong, low stance: In Skee-Ball®, all of your power and control comes from the lower half of your body. When you get ready to roll, keep a low center of gravity so you can use your legs as leverage. Press your leg against the lane and keep your core firm through the entire motion.

  • Keep your wrist straight and your hand flat: Keeping a solid base is a great first step, but a great roll requires precise arm movement. Keep your arm as straight as you can with your wrist facing upward. Hold this form for the entire motion — there's no need to flick your wrist.

  • Touch counts: The Skee-Ball® lane is fairly short, so the ball will travel where it needs to go with a soft arm motion. If you roll the ball too hard, it may bounce out of the intended chute and land in the 10-point slot. Grip the ball with your fingertips and use a smooth, gentle motion.

  • Aim small, miss small: For the best score, pick a spot and aim for it. If you miss, you'll still be in the vicinity. Forty is the second-highest score in the middle of the board and the third-highest overall. It's also near other point markers. If you aim for the 40-point hole and miss by a smidge, you'll likely still score some points and could even score more than you intended.

  • Mind your appetite: It may be tempting, but steer clear of the 100-point hole. If you aim for 100 and miss, you'll almost certainly score only 10 points. Only shoot for 100 if you're desperate for a comeback.

  • Take your time: Unlike other games, Skee-Ball® gives players infinite time to use their shots. This means you have as much time as you need to take a deep breath and make a throw you're happy with.

  • Practice makes perfect: The best way to develop your Skee-Ball® skillset is to reinforce your good habits in as many games as you can play. Improvement takes time, so stay committed to the fundamentals and watch your scores grow!

Play Skee-Ball® at Home

If you want to take your Skee-Ball® game to the next level or simply enjoy playing casually with friends and family, purchase an in-home Skee-Ball® machine from HB Home. With Skee-Ball® Home Arcade Premium, you'll access six unique game modes that test your skills in different ways. This game is available in three colors and features an authentic cork ramp and brilliant LED light display. To order yours, shop our online store or contact HB Home today!

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