Online poker is on it’s way back – the kind with real money, not that rinky dink prize crap. How do I know? Billionaires are starting to build the infrastructure back up in preparation. Billionaires like the Fertittas:

Fertitta Interactive today announced it would launch Ultimate Poker as the first step in preparing to move between social games, such as those on Facebook, and taking cash bets as the company applies for licenses in states that eventually legalize online gambling. Ultimate Poker will launch Friday on Facebook as a free social game that Fertitta hopes will drive an eventual market for real money games.

Within weeks, the company will begin marketing its Ultimate Gaming brand through Ultimate Fighting Championship broadcasts, owned by Frank Fertitta III and Lorenzo Fertitta. UFC fights have the potential to reach 1 billion homes in 148 countries, with a predominantly male audience that is also drawn to online gaming, developers said during a news conference.

“It is almost the same demographic as online poker,” said Tom Breitling, chairman of Fertitta Interactive.

Fertitta Interactive is developing its social games with an eye toward offering the same brands as they pursue government regulatory approval. “We’ll be ready to go from Day 1,” Breitling said.

“We view this as a global opportunity,” Breitling said. “When looking at online gaming, it’s going to be a domino effect with Nevada leading the way.”

A year and a half ago the US government kicked online poker in the balls by seizing a bunch of major sites and shutting them down. Now states are starting to work their way around federal statutes – by their interpretation online gambling is only illegal if it occurs across state lines – with Nevada giving away it’s first licenses a few days ago, and legislation working its way through Delaware and New Jersey. Who knows, maybe in a few years we’ll be able to bet on human cockfighting again too!