Yeah, deckbuilding's an important component -- but the nice thing is that if you're building all the decks, you can control the extent of the craziness!
As I mentioned in our (very sexy) private correspondence, a great variant Back in the Day (tm) was the Bicycle format. (Bicycle as in the poker deck manufacturer.) In that format, you create a "legal" deck which can't cheat -- in other words, one each of Ace-King, in each of the four values. The nice thing about this format is that it is a lot easier to build decks, and you get a somewhat purer poker experience out of the shootouts. The downside is it somewhat hinders decks that need to Pull a lot, and Cheatin' cards become largely irrelevant (including some of the nuLaw Dogs' abilities).
Now, that was easy when the card pool got mammoth, but would be tough in the new card pool. But I think a good format would be the MOSTLY legal deck. Let's say you start by building a Bicycle deck, but you can have duplicate suit/values for, say, 10 cards? That makes deckbuilding a lot easier, while still giving some flexibility.
I'm at home for at least a little while longer (on call for jury duty!) so maybe I'll give this a try at lunch!