Professional experience is generally better. There are noticeable exceptions, but the generalization holds.
Jonathan split it into two points. For me, there are three:
- How much do you know?
Here, the amount of time spent working as a hobbyist is roughy equivalent to the time spent at work, as long as it's consistent, and in large enough chunks. If you're working at a hobby for a day each week over a year, that's two months' experience. 30 minutes every 3 months, though, probably means you're doing the same tutorial each time.
- How much experience do you have?
For this category, it's very difficult to count the hobbyist work without seeing it. Contribute to an open source project, or any other visible or peer reviewed project, in your spare time, to get these kinds of brownie points. No matter what, they'll be discounted some, unless you can prove the full range of professional work - it's much rarer to see a hobbyist provide support and maintenance, for example. A professional can simply list the activities they participated in at work, and they will be more likely to be believed. Also, as in the point below, a quick reference check can prove they've done it.
- How skilled are you at your work?
This category is difficult to estimate from either source. Skill used to gain professional experience, though, can be checked with references. I can call your last boss and ask how good you are. Hobbyists will find this one even harder to prove than the experience one
Visible, consistent, public work, with end users that seem happy, is your best bet as a hobbyist. It will put you on equal footing with someone with pro experience when it comes to proving you have skills, and go a lot farther to getting you a job - since you'll both stand out more when compared to other hobbyists, and, since the work is being done in your spare time, it will be more impressive at the same quality level.