Yes, once it's "that" long, it will need to be banded all the time, or the dog will be completely unable to see.
I posted this on Sugar's 52 Weeks thread, but since it's pertinent, here's what he looks like with no bands, then with.
There is a very annoying stage where it's barely long enough for bands, and keeps coming out of even devil horns, and little whispies are always sticking out, and you sort of despair...but then it gets so long that you can pop a human hair band on it easily, which I now do a lot.
As far as maintainance, I take down the topknot and carefully brush and comb through it every two or three days, minimum. Right now we seem to be experiencing some coat change issues, so I'm trying to do it more often, and since I'm not working with a show dog here, I'm okay with taking a small slicker to the occasional tangle, which are getting particularly bad on the back of his neck. I use Crown Royale spray on it. Probably once a week I carefully section and band the hair "properly," with tiny bands as in the picture; the rest of the time, it's in a couple of ponytail holders.
It's a bit of a pain, but I really like the look. To me, it's the essence of Poodle-ness. lol