If you want to be the best, you have to know how to play with the best.

Pokémon Go has taken the world by storm, with Canada as the latest country to join the fray. People everywhere are seemingly running around at random, looking at their phones for one express purpose: to catch ’em all.

I’ve been playing non-stop since Pokémon Go’s debut in the U.S., and I’ve collected a pretty good list of tips and tricks to help you excel in Pokémon Go.
1. Visit parks with multiple PokéStops

While you can find Pokémon just about anywhere, if you want to find lots of Pokémon, you want to go to a populated area. Cities are a pretty good starting point, but we prefer parks — especially parks with a good body of water, or saltwater beach parks — for the ultimate Pokémon catching experience. Different terrain will help you find different types of Pokémon, while parks with multiple PokéStops ensure that you won’t run out of Poké Balls while hunting. (In our testing, PokéStops also encourage the spawning of more Pokémon — especially if you attach a lure.

2. Hunt in pairs

When Pokémon appear, they appear for everyone and can be caught by every person in your area. As such, hunting in pairs (or even groups) is encouraged: Not only is it fun to banter with friends while wandering your neighborhood for Pokémon, but you can also cover more ground as you try to figure out just where that three-footstep Kadabra might be hiding.

3. Hunt (safely) at night

First of all: Don’t get stabbed or robbed. It’s clearly not safe to go by yourself to a Lure-enabled PokéStop in the middle of a city at night. That said, you can smartly hunt in pairs or small groups at night to find Pokémon you wouldn’t ordinarily find during the daytime — just stick to well-lit areas and have a car nearby. (I’ve been able to find quite a number of awesome Fairy-type Pokémon either by sitting in my house or wandering close by on nighttime walks with my dogs.)

4. Use your radar ring to discover Pokémon

As you wander the world, your avatar has a small pulsing ring that glows around them. This ring is your personal radar in the game: It’s what determines whether you’re close enough to a PokéStop or Gym to use it, and it’s also what pulls zero-footprint Pokémon out of hiding.

Once you’ve tracked a Pokémon to zero steps, that means it’s in your immediate vicinity: If you stand still for a few moments, your radar field should bring it out of hiding. So no, you don’t have to try and jump your neighbor’s fence or run through graveyards to find wandering Pokémon — your radar should reveal them without any extra work on your part.

5. For random Pokémon spawns, look for moving leaves

Those green fluttering leaves have frustrated Pokémon Go players from the beginning: Does it mean a Pokémon’s there? Nearby? Is it a red herring? From what we’ve been able to tell, those leaves indicate a Pokémon spawn point: If you hang out in that vicinity for long enough, you have a chance of seeing creatures not on your radar map appear. Note that I said “chance” — it’s far from a guarantee of a rare Pokémon appearing. Those leaves also don’t indicate the location of the current Pokémon you’re tracking on the Nearby list; don’t go chasing foliage in the hopes of catching that Drowzee.

6. Want to catch a lot of Pokémon quickly? Try parking lots

For whatever reason, Pokémon seem to love spawning in parking lots — especially if they’re near PokéStops. I’ve had luck seeing four, five, and even six common Pokémon show up in the lot by our local Trader Joe’s, as well as several gas stations.

7. When catching Pokémon, turn off AR

It’s pretty awesome to see that Pikachu spawn on your coffee machine, but AR (augmented reality) can often make it more difficult to catch your creatures — and drain your battery, too. To keep your device steady and ready for anything, flip AR off — you can always turn it back on if you find a Pokémon in a particularly hilarious location.

8. How to get bonuses when throwing Poké Balls

When you try to catch a Pokémon, the goal is to toss your ball inside the shrinking ring around them and have it land on the Pokémon’s head or nose. But there are special catch bonuses that can help improve (though not guarantee) your chances of keeping that Pokémon locked inside that Poké Ball rather than breaking free.

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