Railing is a past-time that is enjoyed by many members of the online poker community. There is nothing more entertaining than watching two online players slug it out in a heads-up $300/$600 No Limit Hold'em match with hundreds of thousands of dollars in front of them. Hundreds of thousands of dollars can be won and lost in any given session. The question that most people have is, where do all these players go? They seem to spring up for a month or two, dazzle the masses, and then disappear, sometimes permanently.
Quite a few of these players are playing above their bankrolls. They may be young and reckless, and simply taking a shot at the big game. If you are underbankrolled, eventually variance will get the better of you and you will go bust. Many of these players simply bust their bankrolls and either retreat to lower levels or are never heard from again. You may think that a million dollars is a lot of money, but when it comes to being bankrolled for the big game on Full Tilt Poker, it's not much at all. Even a good player can blow through a million dollars in no time at the high limit games on Full Tilt Poker, especially going against players such as Gus Hansen and Phil Ivey.
After that, a number of players will either leave for other sites and better games, or play under different accounts. There are tons of accounts out there that are actually shared accounts with some of the top players playing the accounts; players do this to maximize their edge, and make it harder for other players to figure out their style of play.
Then you have the players who actually have a level head. Players like Actionjeff and Taylor Caby, who realize that maybe they aren't prepared to deal with the swings that the big games on Full Tilt Poker offers, so they voluntarily pull back and play lower limits, even though they are winners in the Big Game on Full Tilt. Actionjeff won several hundred thousand dollars on Full Tilt playing David Benyamine, and had the foresight to drop down before he gave the money back. Taylor Caby focused more on growing his Cardrunners business, which is an extremely smart move. There is much less variance when it comes to running a business.
Lastly, you have the ultra-rich who will simply log into Full Tilt Poker every week or every month and drop a couple hundred thousand, and then go back to tending their businesses for a few weeks. There are a number of "rich Fish" in the Full Tilt Poker and Pokerstars high limit games which seem to spew their money and keep the High Limit economy going. These guys are busy, and don't have time to play online every day, but when they do play, they usually lose and lose big.
The average lifespan of an online high limit player is extremely short. Variance is usually the biggest reason why their careers are cut short, but there are a number of other factors as well. Just because your favorite online player disappears, don't assume that it is because they have busted.
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