World Series of Poker catches Pokmon fever

8:27 PM ET

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. But 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.

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For a long time, players did things like watch movies, listen to podcasts on their phones and tablets, or do 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 past few weeks, however, a lot of players have decided to turn their attentions toward catching them all.

There’s a lot going in their favor in that regard. 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 past 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 snapped candid shots of their environments.

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.

The enthusiasm has also carried well beyond the boundaries of the Rio. 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.

Of course, not everyone is so enthusiastic about players in the WSOP main event trying to simultaneously become Pokémon masters.

Meanwhile, others are perhaps getting a bit too enthusiastic.

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