More recently, I typically don't have an opportunity to enter contests on the first day they are posted. In rare instances when I get free time, I get to participate on the day they open, but for the most part, I sort contests by what is ending first and submit an entry typically with less than a day left in the contest. While I miss several contests and some of my entries are never seen, I still do pretty well with wins. I don't think that the 3-hour wait should inhibit your creativity at all. I do run into names already being submitted, but I guess it wasn't that unique if another creative thought of the very same name.
I think using the points to get in early is a great idea! My rating slipped under 80% at one point in time. It didn't mean I was a bad namer. It just meant that I was missing the mark with contest holders for a while.
I still think that limiting entries for everyone to just 5 on the first day is a good idea. That will give the contest holder time to evaluate the smaller list of names, rate them, and then give us more direction on what they want. I've seen some contestants give 20-30 names in one contest. I think the contest holder needs to give us more direction before we can plug in 20+ names. Entering 5 names give creatives the opportunity to submit a straight forward name, a mashup name, a made up name, an off the wall name, and their "signature" name first and see how the contest holder responds.