Poker Is 2006\’s Top Search Term

Lycos has reported its 50 most popular search terms of 2006, and the king is … poker.

Yep, users searched more for poker than they did No. 2 MySpace (though how stupid do you have to be to do a search to find MySpace?), more than WWE and more than annual search queens Britney Spears and Pamela Anderson.

It’s a clean list, so it’s unknown whether poker really is the No. 1 term, or just tops among searches that don’t use “job” as a suffix.

Still, it’s a testament to the power of ESPN. Say what you will about the network, make fun of some of its original programming or talking heads, but ESPN took something that wasn’t even on the most-popular radar a few years ago (poker debuted on the list at No. 10 in 2004) and turned into No. 1 on the web. That’s an incredible influence.

It also speaks to how well poker fits with the web. Discussing strategy with friends isn’t such a great idea if you’re trying to take their money every week in home games. So that opens things up to discuss the game anonymously on a multitude of forums. But it’s more than message boards, of course. Card room reviews, instructional sites, blogs, and, of course, the entire set of online gambling venues, have swarmed the web since ESPN tried to fill a few hours of programming.