Here are the steps to start the game:

  1. Shake hands with your opponent.
  2. Shuffle your 60-card deck and draw 7 cards.
  3. Check to see if you have any Basic Pokemon in your hand.
  4. Put one of your Basic Pokémon face down as your Active Pokémon.
  5. Put up to 5 more Basic Pokémon face down on your Bench.
  6. Put the top 6 cards of your deck off to the side face down as your Prize cards.
  7. Flip a coin. The winner of the coin flip goes first.
  8. Both players flip all their face-down Pokémon face up and start the game!

If you don't have a Basic Pokemon in your hand, show your hand to your opponent, shuffle your hand into your deck, and draw 7 new cards. Your opponent continues his or her set-up and can choose to draw an extra card after setting aside his or her Prize cards. Repeat this process until you get a Basic Pokemon, but your opponent can keep drawing a new card! Fossil Trainer cards always count as Basic Pokemon during this part of the game.