There was a time when “lucky” would not have been the best word to describe Martin “Mike” Halka.
He never got a chance to know his mother, who died when he was 6 weeks old. The death of his father, Martin James Halka, in 1992 came as a hard blow.
“At one point, I had no home, no job – I was having a rough go in life and I made a couple of bad choices,” he said. Subsequently, a dispute over his father’s estate took an emotional toll.
|Martin "Mike" Halka and his wife Darcy, owners of Bay
Area Concrete Company in Oregon. (Photo courtesy of
Hollywood Casino, Toledo).
But Halka made the choice to turn things around, getting married and being a good dad to his four kids. He also operates his own business, Bay Area Concrete Co.
“I’ve moved on, I’m married, I’ve got four children, I have a business and I’m doing great,” he said.
Earlier this week, Lady Luck decided to smile on Halka in a big way. On June 4, he became the biggest winner in young Hollywood Casino Toledo’s short history, winning a $100,000 jackpot on a Red Hot 7 slot machine.
The jackpot capped off an evening of uncharacteristic good fortune.
“I’m not a regular casino-goer – I haven’t been to one since 2007,” Halka said. “But I wanted to go and check out the new casino. That day, I had just finished a job and had a little extra money.”
He began the evening at the Texas Hold `Em tables, walking away with about $1,400 after about three hours. He took his winnings to the $1 slot machines, parlaying them into a $680 win.
“Then I took the $680 and went to a $10 slot machine and won $8,000,” Halka said. “I was waiting for the payment of the $8,000 and put it in a $25 slot machine and won the $100,000.
“Between the $10 slot machine and the $25 slots, I hit a total of seven times,” he added.
At the end of the night, he walked away with $127,000 in winnings.
Asked what he’ll do with his winnings, he said, “I already spent it all – every dime,” he said.
“I bought two brand new work trucks for his company plus a Bobcat and a Bobcat trailer,” he said. “I had been talking about taking out a loan to buy the Bobcat, so I just saved myself five years worth of payments of about $1,000 a month.
“Other than that, it hasn’t changed my life at all. I’ve been to work every day since I won,” he said.
Casino officials report that Halka wasn’t the only big winner last week. A 63-year-old Richfield, Ohio resident and an 82-year-old of Toledo resident walked away with $20,000 and $15,000 respectively after playing one of Hollywood’s video poker stations and Quick Hits slot machines.
Martin “Mike” Halka and his wife Darcy, owners of Bay Area Concrete Company in Oregon (photo courtesy of Hollywood Casino Toledo).