Have tried the following for bucket placements at the beginning of the game: 1. Shuffling a player's own buckets face down & randomly setting up the stack before turning the buckets face up. 2. Arranging buckets before looking at dealt cards. 3. Having the next player arrange your bucket stack.
All the above add a certain amount of randomness at the start of the game and may help balance out more experienced players with younger, more inexperienced ones.