No-tap formats are occasionally used for pro-am tournaments or during some recreational leagues or events. In a no-tap format, strikes are awarded for any pin count at or above a certain score. That is, in 9-pin no-tap bowling, any bowler who knocks down 9 or more pins on his or her first ball is awarded a strike.
9-pin no-tap bowling is the most common form, but it's not unheard of to come across 8-pin no-tap (any score 8 or above counts as a strike) or even 7-pin no-tap. Technically, you could set up a no-tap event all the way down to 0-pin no-tap, but there would be no point in doing so.
No-tap bowling is often used to help less talented individuals bowl with more talented bowlers on a level playing field. For instance, a youth league might have an end-of-year party in which the kids bowl with their parents in an 8-pin no-tap format, giving the kids a better chance of keeping up with the adults. The same theory is used in pro-am tournaments, when regular shlubs try to compete with PBA bowlers. A no-tap format makes it less lopsided.
Scoring a Game of No-Tap Bowling
The scoring method is exactly the same as standard bowling scoring, once the no-tap rule is put in place. That is, if you're participating in a 9-pin no-tap game and you throw a 9, you are given a strike and your turn is over. That frame is then added to your score as a strike.