By Meg Olson
Arthur Reber, familiar to many for his active role with several local organizations and committees, is also a psychology professor and a passionate poker player. In his first novel, “Xero to Sixty,” he merges his own experiences with stories collected from years in poker rooms.
“The first part is autobiographical,” Reber said of the novel, available now on Amazon and through Barnes and Noble. Main character Xero’s early years mirror Reber’s experiences as he took time off from college at 19, traveled to California from Pennsylvania and after a series of sometimes surreal jobs, joins the circus. “Sometimes I would think I must have read this in a book,” Reber said. “This can’t really have happened. I met some wonderful crazy people. I’ve always had a low-life streak in me and I kind of just connected to it.”
While Reber returned to school and became a psychology professor, in the novel Xero makes his career as a poker player. Reber said for this portion of the novel, which takes Xero up to his 50th year, he relied heavily on interviews with a longtime friend, Mike Z.
“We were friends, we played poker together, he ran the room,” Reber said. “Events occur and those are Mike’s stories, integrated into Xero’s life.”
While the novel explores some deeper themes such as the role of human intuition, Reber said it’s mostly a good time. “It’s a ride,” he said, adding, “There are elements to it if someone wants to dig deeper they can find something.”
For more information and a link to the novel on Amazon, visit Reber’s website at arthurreber.com.