How to play Zoom or Rush style turbo poker tournaments
Almost every poker room has those tournaments now - usually, you get around 500 chips and 3-minutes blind levels and you have to finish last out of three players. The amount to be won is picked randomly as a multiple of the buyin. So, obviously, those tournaments are decided in very short time - within 5 and 10 minutes mostly.
Before we get to the strategy part, a little advice: Each poker room has its own format here. For example, 888 Poker has an additional limitation: you only get to play a few hands and after 2 minutes of playing, all remaining players are always all-in at the start of the hand. This, in my opinion, has nothing to do with poker. It is pure gambling and no fun at all.
Pokerstars is another room which I do not recommend for this. While in theory, for a $7 tournament the random prize money generator CAN set the prize money to up to $70,000 you still end up playing for $14 almost all the time. Considering that the total for 3 players should be $ 21, that is a bad deal. I have played tons of those tourneys, and the highest payout I ever saw was $42. Given Pokerstars reputation, I would not put it past them to steal from their players here.
What I do recommend is Bet365 and their Twister tournaments. The "distribution" of the random prize money amounts seems to be fair, and I like the optics of the game layout here, as well as the fact that a $10 buy-in may net you up to $10,000.00.
Twister, Zoo, Rush - what about the strategy?
Obviously, playing your usual tight game will not get you very far here. You need to be aggressive, and the preflop value of your starting hands is much different. You are playing three-handed (and two-handed shortly later), so typical hands that will make draws (like small suited connectors) do not have so much value here. On the other hand, basically every ace (even A-2 off) is a good hand if you can open with it.
On the flop, middle or even low pair is good enough to bet most of the time. Bet sizes vs flop size can be left unchanged, although on draw-heavy boards I tend to protect my made hands with big bets, even with an all-in.
Pay very clos attention to the price you have to pay to see the flop. For example, if you are the big blind while the blinds are 10/20, one player raises to 40, the second player calls, you should call all the time. You are getting 6:1 odds and no hand is that bad! Same goes when you are the small blind and the first player limps. Put the 10 chips in and hope the BB checks behind. It's a 60 chips pot and you only have to pay 10 to see the flop.
Here's the most important tip
In this kind of game, the other players' perception of your playing style will be defined by the first 4-10 hands played. After that, they will simply assume that you always play as tight or as loose or as aggressive as you did at the start. That said, you have to be aware of the player image that you generated at the beginning. You can use that image to your advantage - by getting away with more bluffs (if your image is tight), or getting better payouts with your good holdings (if your image is loose-aggressive!