How to Play Better on PBA Viper Oil Pattern?

Understanding Viper Oil Pattern

The Professional Bowling Association (PBA) has formulated some of the best lane patterns that are widely used in tournaments. One of their popular ones is the PBA Viper oil pattern. Now, you tell me, how often do you hear about the Viper oil pattern? I’m pretty sure, a lot? That’s because bowlers love to play on it and it really throws some bigger challenges that tournaments need to find the worthy and skilled winner. So if you’re roaming on this page, I’m assuming you’re soon to play on this pattern. If the answer is yes, continue to read further cause I have a nice guideline about this pattern that I’d love to share with y’all.

What is the PBA Viper oil pattern?

The 36-feet 2.07:1 oil ratio PBA Viper oil pattern has been around for quite a long time. It is one of their Animal Patterns that pros love to play on. Even if you haven’t played on this pattern yet, I’m sure you have heard about it from the USBC Sport Bowling program- PBA Experience.

Because of being 36 feet in length, the viper pattern falls in the short category. The total amount of Forward Oil is 15.7 mL and Reverse Oil is 9.85 mL. So on Viper the Total Volume Oil is gonna be 25.55 mL. The Total Boards Crossed in this pattern are 511 Boards (314 Boards- Forward and 197 Boards- Reverse). On Viper pattern, there will be 50 uL of oil on each board. Houses may customize the conditioner and oil transfer type, so your experience will vary from house to house.

How to attack on the PBA Viper oil pattern?

The shorter length gives the Viper its bite. As the general rule of thumb indicates, you have to start further outside and throw it as straight as possible. We know how a Viper can attack from multiple angles, right? Well, so can you on this Viper oil pattern. While you can play this pattern from multiple angles, typically, you will start with straighter angles from the outside. You have to keep it straight on the fresh pattern, and there is no option for that. However, in some situations, it may work to start further inside.

Now, if you do some calculations using the ‘Rule of 31’, your possible breakpoint is going to be somewhere around, (36-31) the 5th board. But based on how inside or outside you’re playing, it can be anywhere between 3 and 8 boards. Starting as far out as possible will allow the pattern to break down in a more forgiving way. Oppositely, if you play too inside, will make the pattern tougher than it already is and reduce your margin for error as the pattern breaks down.

As I just said, you can use multiple angles to play on this PBA Experience pattern. Based on your consistency in shots, necessary adjustments are required. So let’s take a look at how straight, tweener, and power players should attack the Viper pattern.

Guide for Straight Bowlers (< 250 rev rate):

Are most of your shots straight when you bowl? Then starting around the first arrow will be the best route for you. When you need to adjust to the carry down, start to move further out on the lane. You can do that using the same ball or you may go for a weaker bowling ball. But what do you do when the lane breaks down? I will suggest you migrate inside and hit aggressively.

Guide for Tweener Bowlers (250-350 rev rate):

Now, what about medium rev rate bowlers? Well, you can start between 4 and 8 boards on the Viper oil pattern and gradually move deeper when you see the pattern is breaking down (whether you’re a lefty or righty). If possible switch to a weaker ball when the lanes are broken down. To adjust to the carry down, a right-handed tweener should move deeper inside with a stronger ball. On the other hand, the left-handed tweeners should migrate outside with an aggressive ball.

Guide for Power Bowlers (350+ rev rate):

As for power dominant bowlers, you should start between 5 and 12 boards and then gradually move inside with a weaker ball as the pattern starts to break down. However, with the right equipment, you can play a bit outside. For power players, the pattern seems to break down faster than other players as they tend to make bigger moves. To adjust to the oil carry down, you should move deeper with an aggressive bowling ball.

Which bowling ball is best for this pattern?

So how do you tame the Viper? Well, you do not come out here on this pattern with too strong of a bowling ball. So the best option for you would be to look at the coverstock. In my opinion, a medium bowling ball would be perfect to throw on the Viper oil pattern. Most PBA Bowlers opt for strong coverstock with weaker drill patterns or mild coverstock with stronger drill patterns.

If you’re in a high-traffic environment, you’re going to see the lane cliff up a little bit. But in that case, you can try to blend it out with some stronger balls. Besides your stronger balls, don’t forget to take some weaker balls with you. As for the finish, you should go for a ball that has enough surface because the lane is already too flat.

The Columbia 300 Resurgence, Black Widow Urethane, Storm Axiom, Hammer Scorpion, Storm IQ Tour, Storm Match Up Black Pearl, Motiv Venom Shock, Motiv Fatal Venom, etc are some of the great medium to high-performance bowling balls to roll on the PBA Viper oil pattern. Some of the alternatives for this ball would be— the Brunswick Prism Solid, Hammer Midnight Vibe, Hammer Purple Pearl Urethane, Motiv Desert Tank, Motiv Thrill Yellow/Pink, Motiv Forge Fire, Track Rule GP2, Roto Grip Mutant Cell Pearl, etc.


And, scene! Taming the Viper has never been easier! With practice and patience, you can make this medium-scoring pattern a high-scoring pattern for yourself. So if you have a competition coming, start your practice session today! I hope this article was helpful enough for you to know more about this PBA sports pattern and guide you for your next challenges. Good luck!


I’m an aspiring bowler with an immense love for bowling. I started playing the game at a very early age and it’s been an integral part of my life ever since.

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