If the dealer is claiming that nothing can be done then the tournament director needs
to be called. I don't know what rules exactly the Borgata follows but it's a major casino and I can only assume they follow the TDA rules.
TDA Rule 29 deals with this situation:
Dealers cannot kill a winning hand that was tabled and was obviously the winning hand. Players are encouraged to assist in reading tabled hands if it appears that an error is about to be made.
In this situation there are three pots: a 14BB pot between the big and small blinds (the second side pot), a 7.5BB pot between the blinds and the middle position player (the first side pot), and the 14BBish (depending on whether there are antes or not) main pot between all four players.
The small blind's AQs is obviously the winning hand for the first two pots, and it's obviously been tabled if you know what he had. If they follow the TDA rule, the dealer cannot
kill that hand, and the tournament director should be able to reconstruct the pot and award the chips to their rightful owner.
In that case, UTG keeps his 14BB pot, and the 21.5BB that were shipped to the big blind get given to the small blind. Probably while someone runs after him and yelling "Sir, sir, you still have chips". Don't laugh, I've read about it happening at the WSOP
more than once.
FWIW too, I can see how this happened - in a situation with multiple side pots, I was always taught to start with the last
side pot: the one between the players that started with the most money. If the dealer had've done that, I think he probably would've gotten it right. It should've run like this:
- AQ for a pair of aces beats kings, and takes the second side pot. Therefore the big blind won't win any money in this hand, and his cards get mucked.
- AQ for a pair of aces beats tens, and takes the first side pot. The middle position player won't win any money and is eliminated, his cards get mucked.
- AA for three of a kind beats a pair of aces, and takes the main pot.
If your recollection is correct, the dealer worked the pot backwards by starting with the main pot.
Maybe I'm not one to talk because I only deal corporate functions and pub games (though from one point of view, this gives me a lot of experience working out whacky hands with five side pots - casino dealers will rarely see that). But if you start with the main pot you're stuck in the mindset that people need to beat three aces for the other pots, and your thinking can get a little messy.
100% dealer error then. It happens, we're human, but someone absolutely needs to call the tournament director over if the dealer isn't willing to fix the situation. Especially if there are several of you at the table in agreement about what happened and there's no "he said she said" to the situation.