Background The objective of this study is to evaluate use of the American College of Surgeons (ACS) National Surgical Quality Improvement Program (NSQIP) online risk calculator for estimating common outcomes after operations for gallbladder cancer and extrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma. Methods Subjects from the United States Extrahepatic Biliary Malignancy Consortium (USE-BMC) who underwent operation between January 1, 2000 and December 31, 2014 at 10 academic medical centers were included in this study. Calculator estimates of risk were compared to actual outcomes. Results The majority of patients underwent partial or major hepatectomy, Whipple procedures or extrahepatic bile duct resection. For the entire cohort, c-statistics for surgical site infection (0.635), reoperation (0.680) and readmission (0.565) were less than 0.7. The c-statistic for death was 0.740. For all outcomes the actual proportion of patients experiencing an event was much higher than the median predicted risk of that event. Similarly, the group of patients who experienced an outcome did have higher median predicted risk than those who did not. Conclusions The ACS NSQIP risk calculator is easy to use but requires further modifications to more accurately estimate outcomes for some patient populations and operations for which validation studies show suboptimal performance.