Pro Pokémon players competing for world championship title in San Francisco

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- For the next couple days, San Francisco will be the center of the Pokemon world.

Nearly 1,700 players from around the world are competing in the world championship tournament and half a million dollars in prize money is up for grabs.

For those who do not know, the world of Pokemon is much more than stuffed animals. There are two kinds of games on the tournament floor; one is played with tiny Nintendo consoles and the other uses trading card decks. There are 1,7000 people of all ages vying for the grand prize, a trophy and a scholarship, or prize money.

"First place is $10,000," said one player.

The stakes are high, but you likely won't see anyone throw a tantrum if they lose.

"Even though it's very competitive, the environment is not very stressful. There's prizes on the line and what not, but it's such an open and welcoming community," said parent Jason Inman.

After all this is a competition based on some of the cutest creatures ever created. While hundreds of people are battling it out of the tournament floor, there are lots of people who are just waiting in line to give a big hug to Pikachu.

And in the world of Pokemon, good citizenship, reading and math are all part of the fun. The reigning world champion says he's seen one 8-year-old he's mentored turn into a whiz.

"We just worked with her on her reading and it also helps with social skills and by the end of that year she had an invitation to the world championships," said Pokemon world champion Jacob Van Wagner.

Win or lose, the room is full of competitors who are simply having fun.

Click here to watch the Pokemon World Championships live.

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