Some players at the WSOP are simultaneously playing for an $8 million prize and trying to fill up their Pokedexes all over the Rio All Suites Hotel & Casino, playing Pokemon Go. There are more than a dozen Poke Stops and a Pokemon Gym on property.
The draw of playing for millions of dollars in a single poker tournament is obvious, and the increased turnout for the 2016 World Series of Poker main event certainly speaks to that. The thing is, there tends to be a lot of down time in the early stages of any tournament, and even more so when a format like the WSOP’s main event is in play.
For a long time, players did things like watching movies or listening to podcasts on their phones and tablets, or more active endeavors like Open Face Chinese poker or online poker, while they were at the table and out of a hand. With the explosion of Pokémon G0 in the last few weeks, however, a lot of players have decided to turn their attentions towards catching them all.
There’s a lot going in their favor in that regard, as the Rio All Suites Hotel & Casino has basically turned into Pallet Town or Veridian City with Poké Stops throughout the Convention Center and even a gym located near the registration desk.
In the last few days it’s been a common sight to witness a poker player wandering the halls on break, their phone held high as they try to catch a virtual monster to add to their collection.
While at the table, several players have taken advantage of humorous coincidental Pokémon placement on their screens and taken candid shots of their environments.
— Gavin Griffin (@nhgg) July 11, 2016
— Brian Vickers (@MisterVickers) July 12, 2016
— Chris Lindh (@LINDHsanity) July 13, 2016
There’s plenty of down time to take advantage of in the process of playing a poker tournament, like when there’s a long line at registration.
— AlCantHang (@AlCantHang) July 10, 2016
The enthusiasm has also carried well beyond the boundaries of the Rio, as players have also turned their attentions to filling up their Pokédexes on their 90 minute dinner breaks or when they head out at the end of the night.
Day 2 dinner break of WSoP ME: I have 155k chips, ate some great ramen, and hit up about 15 PokeStops
— Justin Bonomo (@JustinBonomo) July 13, 2016
Left the Rio. Took the long way home. Put the Tesla on autopilot. Gotta catch em all.
— David Williams (@dwpoker) July 11, 2016
Of course, not everyone is so enthusiastic about players in the WSOP main event trying to simultaneously become Pokémon masters…
— Justin Adams (@bcjadams) July 12, 2016
…and others are perhaps getting a bit too enthusiastic.
How rare does a Pokémon have to be to justify having your camera out in line for the urinal?
— Mike McDonald (@MikeMcDonald89) July 13, 2016