I'll tell you guys what happened, and then I'll tell you what I would have done. FYI, This is an alias account. I have been in the poker industry for 25 years in every role, from chip runner to professional player to casino manager. I am a world expert on the rules and history of poker. Anyway here's what happened:
The dealer pushed me the pot. I always hold my cards until I have the pot. I tossed my cards in with a tip, and he squared them ready for the next hand. Then the player sitting next to the villain chimed in that he had said "call". The whole story was related to the floor, who took it to the shift manager while the game idled. While this was happening, we negotiated a gentlemen's agreement that he would't be obligated to call and I would keep the pot. Next hand.
Now one of my thoughts as I was sitting there, having had too many scotch rocks.... Was that the chips were, in fact, in my possession. I was seriously thinking of keeping them no matter what the f**k the shift said. The shift could easily have come back and told me to cough up. In Nevada, I would be within my rights to stroll out the front door with the chips in my possession, and I know that security wouldn't lay hands on me first. Yes, I'd be barred for life from that casino but not arrested. I am super glad it didn't come to that, because I would have seriously regretted it, even though I would have kept the chips. In a sober state I would pay that ammount not to be barred even if I was 100% being cheated. Whew. +1 drunk idiot dodge.
There are several issues here as a floor, who remember wasn't there and is hearing the story 2nd hand.
The most important issue here is WHEN the action was stopped, which in this case was after the pot was co-mingled with the hero's chips. As the floor, there is nothing to be done about it now. The hand's over and there is no way to count the chips out of the guys stack. It is a myth that security could reconstruct the hand 100% of the time with the camera. The shift in this case would get reprimanded for even requesting it. Anyway that's the answer: the chips are co-mingled, and sorry buddy, you should have spoken up sooner. The dealer should apologize. It is HIS fault for not hearing the customer. Even if the customer said it softly, or is actually lying and never said call - it's still the dealer's fault, the customer is always right.
Now what if the chips weren't mixed in with the hero's chips? In this case, I would have awarded the pot to the villain. From the point of view of the floorperson, there was a bet, the villain claims he said call, another player backs him up, the dealer doesn't disprove him, he just didn't hear anything, the villain tabled his cards, the hero didn't table his cards. The floor can't possibly award the pot to a player who didn't show his cards over a player who did show his cards, when other players confirm he said call. It sucks for the hero. I don't know how to prevent this except to not wear headphones ever [which is a solid idea]. This was one of the weirder things I've seen as a player: everyone folding, the dealer pushing you the pot, and then after the hands seams over there is some question as to who wins... and they have a really good point! The villain, who is a novice player, might have the serious impression he just got bushwhacked here! It's a mess. He said 'call' - or thinks he said call, or whispered the word call, or telekenised the word call to the guy next to him, whatever - but he DID show his cards. Really he's lucky because I would have stacked him! I'm glad I had started stacking the chips quickly, or it could have gone the other way. Don't drink and gamble!